In Case of Catastrophe: What If the Toronto Maple Leafs Become Sellers?

TORONTO, ON-Toronto-DUBAS.The Maple Leafs announced today the promotion of Kyle Dubas to General Manager. Brendan Shanahan was on hand for the announcement..May 11, 2018. (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON-Toronto-DUBAS.The Maple Leafs announced today the promotion of Kyle Dubas to General Manager. Brendan Shanahan was on hand for the announcement..May 11, 2018. (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /

This season, to say the least, has not been what anybody expected from the Toronto Maple Leafs this year.

Sporting a 13-13-4 record after 30 games, this star studded Toronto Maple Leafs team is performing nowhere near as well as it should and it’s that simple.

Even the most pessimistic pundits or hated rivals expected more from this group heading into the season.

If the Toronto Maple Leafs don’t get it together now and win roughly two of every three games the rest of the way, they are unlikely to make the playoffs– an unthinkable outcome just a couple of months ago.

If the Maple Leafs are still treading water in a month, it’ll be time to sell. So, in case this catastrophe does occur, let’s look at some options the team has to set themselves up better in the future.

Trade the players on expiring deals…

Yes, that means saying bye to Tyson Barrie and Jake Muzzin. Keeping either one would be great, but it seems more likely that these players will want to test free agency by the day.

Toronto would likely get less than they paid for either player since both are pending UFAs, but some combo of either a first round pick, good young roster player, or high end prospect should be possible between the two.

There’s no need to mention Ceci here. He’s gone no matter what.

Find a quality backup goalie…

While a finding a backup goalie usually isn’t a big issue, the sheer ineptitude of Hutchinson (and by extension, the poor play in front of him) is wild.

It is very hard to win a hockey game when you need to score at least five or six times.

Not once has Hutchinson delivered this year. Sometimes you have to make a save you shouldn’t have. or win a game for your team when things are rough. He hasn’t. Though the plan was to go with Neuvirth before he went AWOL, this is how it is.

Finding a good backup should be the easiest fix for this team. They’re cheap and surely anyone the Leafs get would be an upgrade. Over the next month, we’ll find out if Dubas can find one without overpaying.

Trade a winger…

The Toronto Maple Leafs should trade one of Johnsson or Kapanen before the deadline as well. Both are locked up to reasonable deals, but Toronto has enough depth on the wings to deal with losing one. A little extra cap space would certainly help should this team continue to disappoint.

Consider trading a core player…

This is tough, but if this does end up being a lost season, every option should be considered. There is simply way too much talent on this team to excuse Tavares, Marner, Nylander. Matthews and Rielly’s under-performance this year (though Nylander has been playing well for the most part).

It really hurts, but if management thinks the group needs a shock, moving one of them would do it.  The Maple Leafs are right up against the cap and have a new coach. This is the last thing anyone should want to do, but Dubas has to consider it. A Cup victory one day is more important than any one player.

In closing…

Keep in mind that this is all hypothetical. This team certainly has the talent to turn things around and go on a roll the rest of the season.

If they do then circumstances change entirely. Maybe one of Barrie or Muzzin would like to stay? Maybe Dubas finds a good backup in time. Maybe the team starts putting pucks in the net again and plays better defense.

The Toronto  Maple Leafs have certainly had some bad luck as of late which can quickly change.

Since those are all maybes, we also have to consider that if things don’t change in a month, that this is a lost season.

Better to accept that early and acquire assets for what is a deep draft. Toronto can use that time to restructure the blueline, find a better back up goalie, and fill out their forward depth with players from the Marlies who are ready, or any talent they acquired through trade.

Next. Atlantic Power Rankings. dark

Time for this team to figure things out. or have players shipped out. Let’s hope it’s more of the former.