Fans Should Want Toronto Maple Leafs to Run It Back

Zach Hyman, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)
Zach Hyman, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t won a playoff series in 17 years but the fanbase should want them to run it back with the same core as last year.

Although the Toronto Maple Leafs are arguably the biggest laughing stock in professional hockey and are now the most “losing” team in the NHL, the fanbase should want to see a similar core return next year.

Trading Mitch Marner or Morgan Rielly and/or letting Zach Hyman leave in free agency would all be terrible moves for this team.

Marner is one of the best 10 players in the NHL, while Rielly’s $5M contract for one more year is a steal. There’s no reason to re-sign Rielly yet and there’s no reason to trade him, just for the sake of trading him.

I know that you never want to let an asset walk away for free but what player would the Leafs really be getting in exchange for Rielly that is better than him, especially at that price? By trading Rielly, the team would ultimately be losing the trade immediately and it would make the team worse.

The same thing applies to Hyman. If Hyman is asking for a contract worth $5.5M or less, the Leafs should re-sign him. He’s not going to score like your typical expensive winger, but he brings an energy and work-ethic that makes him valuable. He’s arguably the heart-and-soul of this group and should be rewarded for that.

Running This Team Back Is a Good Thing

Since Auston Matthews arrived, the Leafs have a .620 winning percentage. For reference, the Leafs hadn’t had that good of a regular season winning percentage since 2004.

Although the playoff struggles hurt, this team has proved that they’re good enough to eventually win in the playoffs. I know it hasn’t happened yet, but the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to push through while Matthews, Nylander, Marner and Tavares are under contract and they’re going to prove everyone wrong.

The league’s best team (Tampa Bay Lightning) are going to look a lot different next year. They’re still going to be tough, but they’re not going to be able to afford the same depth that they had this year, so it makes a Stanley Cup run a long more likely next year for the Leafs.

Auston Matthews won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy this year and he’s 23-years-old. He’s only going to get better and will continue to compete for the Hart Trophy every year for the next decade.

With a legitimate star like him leading the way, the fanbase should be thankful for what they have. Trading Marner or Rielly is not the answer right now. This team needs one more year to figure it out and if they can’t do it next year with fans back in the building and a normalized schedule, then it’s time to blow the whole thing up and fire everyone involved.

Next. 1st Big Leafs Rumor of the Offseason. dark

But not, yet. Trust the process and enjoy the core, because this team has more talent than it’s had in the past 20 years.