Here is what’s next in Leafs Nation
What an exciting series that was against Boston, honestly, down three games to one and they battle back and almost squeezed out an epic comeback. Up one goal going into the third period the Leafs just couldn’t hang on and things went from bad to worse as Boston kept up the pressure and the Leafs couldn’t exit their zone with control, nor could they get the puck into the Bruins zone with any puck time.
It was an ugly game for the Leafs overall.
Goaltending was weak from Andersen compared to how he had played the last three games. The truth is, the Leafs wouldn’t have made it to game seven if it wasn’t for Andersen. After all, he did set a record for the most wins by a Maple Leafs goalie in franchise history. He also made a number of superb saves throughout the series including a couple paddle saves that were out of this world.
Andersen will be back and so will the Leafs.
Gardiner is taking a lot of heat for his poor performance in the final game of the season. Let’s not sugar coat it, Jake was not good and certainly didn’t help his team like he would have liked. You can bet he’s been feeling pretty down since the game ended, hopefully this is the worst game he plays for the Leafs and Babcock can reboot his system and get that head on straight. Gardiner has all the tools to be a great hockey player, from skating, to passing to shooting…he just needs to use his hockey brain more wisely. Don’t lay all the blame on Gardiner; he was horrendous no doubt, but it’s a team game. You can bet Gardiner will be back in action next season with the Maple Leafs.
The truth is; the Leafs need to add one quality defenceman. I think most of us knew it, and I think management knew it. Sometimes it’s not worth paying the price, which is fine with me. It’s a process and the Leafs are surely trotting down the right path to eventually achieve their goal. With Babcock at the helm the Leafs will surely continue their upward trend and will surely break through that ever so difficult first round barrier.
So what do I think is going to happen?
Thank you Tyler Bozak, Leo Komarov and James van Riemsdyke for your time on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Thank you Dominic Moore for your service this season.
I’m not quite sure yet what the Leafs are going to do with Matt Martin, Connor Carrick or Roman Polak. I’m on the fence as the team does need some grit and both players possess this attribute. Martin is still signed for two more seasons at 2.5 million per and Polak is a UFA. Carrick is an RFA, so the ball is in Lamoriello’s court and he will do what seems most fitting.
Lou will be back next season, hopefully the next couple as he would like to put the icing on the cake before he leaves the organization.
Don’t be surprised to see the Leafs sign all three of Matthews, Marner and Nylander this off season. Odds are this is the most favourable option going forward for the Leafs as Matthews’ value is likely the lowest it will ever be. He was banged up this season but still posted a point per game average; unfortunately for everyone in the playoffs Matthews had a tough go against Boston. I can only imagine that he’s still not at 100%. The positive, and only positive is that it may just help the Leafs sign him for a very marginal discount. I’m not talking anything eye opening but you have to think it’s all part of the equation to equal the final number.
It’s going to be a long off season for us Maple Leafs fans and there will be a number of trade proposals thought up and talks about who the Leafs should target and so on. My one and only ask is they acquire a quality defenseman that can help the Leafs defensive core. It’s certainly the number one need and that really showed in the playoffs against Boston.
Insert Dermott, Kapanen and Johnsson full time next season and that leaves open a third and fourth line center position that is vacant.
The Leafs will be opening up 750k from the Jarden Cowen buyout and 1.3 million from the Tim Gleason buyout.
If they remove Komarov, Bozak, JVR, Moore, Plekanec from the roster, that will open up 14.4 million (2.95 + 4.2 + 4.25 + 1 +3).
Which ripening prospects could be ready to make the jump next season? (C)Aaltonen? (C)Gauthier?
What about our stud defenseman in the first round last season Timothy Liljegren?
Can the Leafs afford to resign Matthews, Marner, Nylander? Of course.
Can the Leafs afford to resign all three and add a top defender or player like Tavares?
It was a successful season by the Leafs; it’s just unfortunate it had to end against the Bruins.
Thanks for reading.