The Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t go all-in on at the NHL trade deadline even if they had areas to address and given the prices other teams paid to get better.
Looking at the trades made at the NHL trade deadline, it’s safe to say it was a seller’s market and while the Toronto Maple Leafs made a couple of deals, they weren’t of the magnitude that other Atlantic Division teams pulled off.
It was clearly the Leafs goal to improve the team at the trade deadline but Kyle Dubas made it clear that they didn’t have that many bullets in the chamber. They weren’t going to do what the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning did when they traded multiple first-round picks and prospects to pretty much go all-in on this season.
Toronto did manage to acquire a top-four defenceman in Mark Giordano and a right-shot defenceman in Ilya Lyubushkin. However, the one area that they didn’t address that they would have liked was the goaltending position.
While many would have liked to have seen the Leafs trade for Marc-André Fleury, it was clear the veteran netminder controlled where he was going in the end. Also if you saw the rumoured deal discussed you can see why the Leafs weren’t willing to do it.
At this rate, Dubas is gambling that his current goaltenders can turn things around especially Jack Campbell who has shown that he can be a No. 1 goalie. However, given how the last few weeks have gone, it’s going to take time for the starter to regain the confidence of Leafs Nation.
Harri Sateri, who was claimed by the Arizona Coyotes, was clearly the Leafs attempt to add a depth option without giving up any assets. Really the only depth goaltenders who were moved were Scott Wedgewood and Andrew Hammond and those options would have also been question marks.
Toronto Maple Leafs top players need to be the different in the end
Nobody should be surprised to see that the Leafs aren’t being mentioned by analysts as a sure-fire contender after the trade deadline. Hopefully, this sparks something with the core players to want to prove the doubters wrong.
You will constantly hear the same message from skeptics saying this is a group ready to flame out in the first round. At some point, you have to hope the star players being paid to be star players are the ones that come ready to play.
If the team doesn’t succeed in the playoffs because the goaltending doesn’t perform but the top players did their best, that’s where management will have to answer for how the season went. However, if the goaltending and defence manage to put together but the “Core Four” of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander don’t get the job done, they certainly deserve the blame.
Dubas has never shied away from making moves to improve this team since taking over in 2018 and seeing how the roster has transformed, he definitely has gotten the raw end of the stick a few times. Has he been perfect with all the decisions he’s made? Absolutely not but no hockey executive will be and that’s where being calculated with your moves is crucial.
All the Leafs can hope is that it all comes together when it matters most.
What are your thoughts on what the Leafs did at the trade deadline? What do you think they could have done differently? Let us know in the comments below.