The NHL’s offseason is about halfway through and the Toronto Maple Leafs have made a ton of moves. However, there’s more to do for the team.
Two key players are eligible for contract extensions, but they haven’t been signed. As well, there’s a feeling that the team needs to strengthen its defensive corps. In short, there are important decisions that still must be made. In this post, I’ll take a look at what’s left to be done with the team.
Remaining Action One: Contract Extensions for Auston Matthews and William Nylander
As of July 1st, two key Maple Leafs’ players – Auston Matthews and William Nylander – have become eligible to sign contract extensions. Securing these stars’ long-term commitments has been a priority. Yet, the need to do is one thing; doing is another.
The fact is that no official deals have been announced yet. As negotiations continue, two of the team’s most valuable assets remain in limbo. What is their future with the Blue and White?
Remaining Action Two: Sheldon Keefe’s Contract Situation (I Assume)
Another significant contract matter on the horizon is that of head coach Sheldon Keefe. He has just one year remaining on his current deal. There was an expectation that Keefe will sign a contract extension of his own before training camp started. Yet, nada.
Under Keefe’s tenure as head coach, the team has made positive strides. He’s learning on the job; however, from my perspective, he’s a much better coach than he was when he started and he’s learning more each season.
His contributions have been crucial in the team’s positive journey. Under Keefe’s guidance as a coach, the Maple Leafs will seek to build upon their recent successes. For now, keeping Keefe at the helm just seems like an important part of the equation.
Remaining Action Three: Brad Treliving Needs to Do Some Roster Tinkering
General manager Brad Treliving has been proactive in his efforts to build a stronger Maple Leafs’ roster. The team’s recent signing of John Klingberg on July 1st was part of his commitment to improve the team’s defense.
However, the critique of the defense remains. Many hockey pundits see it as too soft. It’s a good regular-season blue line but isn’t tough enough for the playoffs. I have to believe, given Treliving’s history as a defenseman himself, that he agrees. His work is not done yet.
No surprise then that, during a recent interview, he admitted that he was still exploring options to further strengthen the team’s blue line. I sense that fans can expect additional moves as Treliving works to assemble a formidable defensive unit for the 2023-24 season.
The Bottom Line
As the summer continues to unfold, the Maple Leafs seem far from done. Treliving continues to work to build a competitive and sustainable team for the coming season. Treliving also continues to work to put his mark on this team.
Maple Leafs’ fans should probably not assume that the team they see now is the team’s final 2023-24 roster. I have to believe that Treliving doesn’t think this team is yet of championship caliber – at least not yet.
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