Toronto Maple Leafs have been patient, it is time to break through in the playoffs
The team has been calm with its young stars, not making knee-jerk reactions that the fans and media (and myself, if I am being honest) have clamoured for, in the same way Tampa Bay allowed for growing pains with their core. Management has not quite found the right combination of pieces to put around its superstars.
The hard part in building through the draft over several years is over. Now comes the easier part (although certainly not ‘easy’) of building around the firepower effectively for playoff success. The really painful part of annual first round exits is hopefully done for a team and fan base who have been, ummm…waiting awhile.
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There is still a lot of work to be done in the forward group, including trying to re-sign Zach Hyman to a number the team is comfortable with. Sorting out the depth on defence and finding a suitable partner for Jack Campbell in net loom large over Dubas.
The Seattle Kraken’s expansion draft will also remove someone from the mix in Toronto on July 21st. Could the Maple Leafs be in the mix for Seth Jones from Columbus? Or what about dipping their toe in the water on the Dougie Hamilton sweepstakes? Drastic changes seem unlikely from a front office that has repeatedly said they are going to ride with the stars they have.
"“I have full belief that the best days of this journey and for this program are ahead of us,” Dubas said to reporters. “If we continue to invest in our people and in our players with player development, with their well-being and their performance, that we will win here, and it’s just a matter of continuing to stick to it.”"
Talk of blowing it up and moving stars around is fun for fans and pundits alike. Teams can change on the fly and have great success or be a flash in the pan for one season. Sustained long-term dominance is tough in a league with a hard salary cap. Ultimately though, teams with continuity and some seasoning are usually the ones left standing at the end.
What do you think the Toronto Maple Leafs will do in the offseason to improve their team? Do you think the team is close to being a Stanley Cup contender? Let us know in the comments below.