As we close out the year, the Toronto Maple Leafs will look to finally change the narrative in 2022 as they try to overcome the playoff hurdle.
Nothing is ever simple when it comes to the Toronto Maple Leafs even when the team is performing at an elite level.
Unfortunately for most of the fanbase, the regular season means nothing because of what has happened each and every year in the playoffs. At this rate, Leafs fans want nothing more than to forget about 2021 and hope that 2022 can provide a blank slate to work with.
The last time the team played a game was back on Dec. 14 before the team faced a COVID-19 outbreak. Initially, it looked like their New Year’s Day game against the Ottawa Senators was going to be postponed especially with the new restrictions placed on by the province.
However, as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman explains, Toronto had the option to postpone their game on Saturday night but the team wants to play so that their team wasn’t forced to catch up on too many games down the road.
So as the team tried to get back to playing, fans will be wondering what the rest of the season holds especially over the next few months.
Can the Toronto Maple Leafs add a top-four defenceman at the trade deadline?
As it stands, the Leafs sit third in the Atlantic division and if you look at the team’s lineup, the biggest hole on the roster is on the blue line.
Realistically, the Leafs should be looking for an alternative to Justin Holl on the right side. His play this season has taken a massive dropoff and it would be risky to roll the dice on him getting back on track.
Of course, it will be tough to assess the trade market considering it’s still early for teams to decide whether they will be buyers or sellers. The Leafs will also need to figure out ways to be cap compliant when they make these moves, whether it’s to get another team to eat part of the contract like they did with Nick Foligno or get a contract taken off the books.
If the Leafs are looking at adding a pure rental player at the deadline the options for right-shot defencemen is quite slim. Just looking at CapFriendly, the options that stick out are P.K. Subban, John Klingberg, Josh Manson, Colin Miller, Robert Bortuzzo, and Mark Pysyk.
Those are not the most enticing option and a couple of those names might not even be available if their teams are contending. We also know that the Leafs are hesitant to add players with term because of the limited wiggle room they have with their salary cap.
Considering the team has looked at the possibility of trading Holl and Travis Dermott, general manager Kyle Dubas is probably thinking of what he can do to improve a position that has had its struggles this season.