The Toronto Maple Leafs finally broke their losing skid and won a game, but it is going to take more than that to win back the fan base.
The Toronto Maple Leafs beat a depleted and downtrodden Chicago Blackhawks team and were basically in a lose /lose situation. They were expected to win, which they did (in overtime) and if they lost it would have been disastrous.
The Leafs avoided disaster, though, and walked away with two points, maybe calming the flames of the fan base just a little. There are still many fans that are calling for major changes and, more emphatically, major trades. Specifically Mitch Marner has been the focus of many Maple Leafs “fans“, since the playoffs, to be shipped out of Toronto. I have always been on the side of staying the course and trying to make it work with this core but I can understand some are losing patience.
Some are calling for Marner’s head, some think coach Sheldon Keefe is not the right man for the job, and some believe GM Kyle Dubas should be sent back to Sault Ste Marie. All of these possibilities come up along with others, but they all come with their downsides.
Firing the Toronto Maple Leafs GM
While firing the General Manager may satisfy some in Leafs Nation, this is easily the worst solution.
If Brendan Shanahan decides to go in a different direction and fires Dubas, the team will not suddenly become a Stanley Cup contender. Firing the GM likely means that the team will then need to be stripped down, and either a rebuild or a ‘retool’ would put the team in flux for at least two or three years.
Personally, I would rather the Toronto Maple Leafs take their chances with this squad for the next two or three years and fail to win a Cup. That seems much better than to watch them toiling in the NHL basement while they figure out their new identity. Worth noting: GMs who are concerned about their job don’t usually lock in players for eight years.
Replacing the Coach With…..John Tortorella?
The idea of firing current Head Coach Sheldon Keefe and hiring the infamous John Tortorella may be more of a tongue-in-cheek idea than anything. This would not make the team better; I think most who suggested this swap know that too.
The fans calling for Torts to come in are most likely wanting to punish these players for all the heartbreak they have put the fanbase through. I get it, they’ve hurt you and you want them to be punished. This is not the solution to what you really want though, and that is a Stanley Cup. What the Toronto Maple Leafs players need is consistency, and having a new coach every two years is only going to cause more confusion on the ice than what we’ve seen the last few games.
Mitch Marner did not do himself any favours when he, (i.e., his agent) held out for every penny he could possibly squeeze from the Leafs. But let’s be real here, there is no trade on the market for Marner that the Leafs could make that would make them a better team.
Marner for Matthew Tkachuk is a joke. I’m sorry but that is not even close to a good trade for Toronto. Cap space may be precious, and Marner may take up a lot of it, but the only way this team is going to win is with a player of Marner’s caliber. He has to show up in the playoffs for that to happen, but so does the rest of the team.
This may be an unpopular opinion, but I believe the Maple Leafs need to stay the course and either make this core work, or go down in flames. The most successful teams in all sports are the ones that show patience and support with their core pieces.
Changing things every time you hit adversity will only leave your team in a constant state of flux and you will never find sustained success that way. Fleeting success, possibly, but this team has its sights set on a higher goal. I support the idea of sticking to their guns, and just give your team as many cracks at it as possible. Eventually, I believe, it will pay off.