Dec 13, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors owner and MLSE president Tim Leiweke watches from the bench against the Philadelphia 76ers at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors won 108-100. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs: Does Tim Leiweke's Departure from MLSE Matter?

Toronto Maple Leafs fans continue to ride the highs and lows of the off-season, as Tim Leiweke has announced his decision to leave MLSE within the year.

Should fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs be worried that Tim Leiweke is moving on?

In a word, no.

Elliotte Friedman first broke the news. He revealed that Leiweke was stepping down as MLSE CEO and President to pursue a “new challenge.”

After a day or two of denials and mixed reports, the bombshell dropped. Leiweke was definitely leaving by June 30, 2015 or sooner if a replacement can quickly be found. With the mess the news has caused, bet on sooner. As the news sunk in, Toronto writers became more than a little worried. Cathal Kelly (Globe and Mail, The Reporters), for one, is beside himself. He lamented Leiweke’s departure by dropping the “D” word.

Disaster. Sounds really bad.

But Toronto Maple Leafs fans don’t need to reach for a box of tissues. They don’t need to shed a tear into their coffee this morning.

Heck, Leafs fans don’t even need to give the departure a second thought.

Here’s why: Tim Leiweke’s job was already done.

Let’s look at what’s in place for the Leafs next year.

Management and Coaching

Tim Leiweke handed the Toronto Maple Leafs over to Brendan Shanahan in April. As Leafs president, Shanahan has orchestrated huge changes that have rocked the core of the Toronto Maple Leafs front office this off-season.

Toronto Maple Leafs don't need to worry about Tim Leiweke's departure

Nov 8, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; 2013 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees Brendan Shanahan (left) and Chris Chelios (right) prior to the start of the game between the New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

First, an analytics department was created, marking a huge change for the organization.

Second, the coaching staff was overhauled, with future head coach Steve Spott sliding behind the Toronto Maple Leafs bench.

Third, the management structure was blown up, as 28 year-old Kyle Dubas and NHL vet Brandon Pridham moved in to Toronto, bringing a breath of fresh air with them.

In management, the Toronto Maple Leafs are set. Now, the new staff must have time to work their magic. Leiweke isn’t needed here at all. In fact, his involvement would probably just make a mess.

The Players

Best of all, the Toronto Maple Leafs roster is remarkably unchanged and rapidly developing. The third and fourth lines are in a little flux. Stephane Robidas and Roman Polak replace Carl Gunnarsson. Small beans.

Toronto Maple Leafs fans don't need to worry about Tim Leiweke's departure

Instead, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ young core will be allowed to develop together as Phil Kessel moves into his prime, Nazem Kadri and James van Riemsdyk come of age, Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner take leadership of the back end, and Jonathan Bernier continues his ascent to elite goaltender status.

It’s Going to be Okay, Leafs Fans…

With a strong president leading, a modern management group, rising stars in the coaching mix, and a young, developing roster with studs at forward, on defense, and in goal, Leafs fans need not worry.

If Tim Leiweke needs a new challenge, let him start up his new lemonade stand, or record a duet with Drake, or take on whatever new challenge he needs.

For Leafs fans, Leiweke’s work was already done.

What do you think about Leiweke’s departure? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Tags: Brendan Shanahan Mlse Tim Leiweke Toronto Maple Leafs

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