There were many areas the Toronto Maple Leafs wanted to address at the NHL Trade Deadline but there are some things a team needs to figure out on their own.
Over the last month, the Leafs’ power play has been abysmal and Monday night against the Montreal Canadiens, it was one of the many problems that led to an unfortunate loss. Not only has the team struggled to score with the man advantage, but they have also been outscored 3-1 over their past 36 power plays according to Sportsnet’s Luke Fox.
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So how does the team get back on track? Some of the players believe it comes down to having more urgency and getting into the dangerous areas.
“Getting pucks towards the net and creating chaos and outnumbering them at the net,” Zach Hyman said after the game. “I think we’re a confident group. We’ve got elite, elite players, so it’s just a matter of time.”
Much of the team’s success and failure comes from the top unit which gets the majority of the playing time. So really, that’s where the attention needs to be paid to.
It’s on Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, John Tavares and Morgan Rielly to turn it around since they are the ones expected to lead the way. Everyone will say that a certain player should be moved up or down but at times, this only presents a temporary situation.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Time to get the veterans some rest down the stretch
At some point, the Leafs need to ensure their best lineup is healthy and not warn out. They also need to make sure any young players they intend on playing in a bind get some playing time.
Trading Alexander Barabonov allowed the team to open a roster spot for Nick Robertson. There is no denying his skill and he needs reps against NHL-calibre players at this stage of the season.
When Nick Foligno joins the team, someone will lose their regular spot in the lineup. The competition should bring out the best in those players and also showcase who is in danger of being in the press box.
Judging by the ice time against the Canadiens, Pierre Engvall, Joe Thornton and Wayne Simmonds could be among the list of players that will need to show that they are deserving of a spot. This was something Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun mentioned in his post-game column as he noted a significant decrease in Thornton’s ice time.
It wouldn’t be the worst thing if the veterans were told to make the personal sacrifice to ensure the team has its best possible lineup when the games truly matter.
What are your thoughts on the Leafs’ struggling power play? Do they need to consider drastic changes? Should some of their veterans be given some rest down the stretch? Let us know in the comments below.