Toronto Maple Leafs Front Office Deserves More Credit for Win Streak

Toronto Maple Leafs tower of pucks (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs tower of pucks (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

As the great Miley Cyrus once said, “we can’t stop and we won’t stop,” and that’s exactly what the Toronto Maple Leafs are saying right now.

With a 17-6-1 record, the Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the best teams in the NHL and they don’t seem to be slowing down. In their biggest test of the season, they just beat the Stanley Cup contending Colorado Avalanche 8-3 and made the Avs look like a peewee team.

Despite the dominance, head coach Sheldon Keefe wasn’t completely happy with the team’s effort, as he said post-game: “I don’t leave the game feeling like we dominated, at all.”

Some people will look at that quote and say that Keefe is being too hard on his team, and that they should enjoy the wins, but he’s actually right. The Avalanche goaltending was abysmal and Jonas Johansson couldn’t stop a beach ball if they threw it at him.

Although the Leafs were still playing the Avalanche, they weren’t playing the same team that is primed for an eventual playoff-run. Going against Johansson is much easier than Devan Dubnyk, while getting Nathan MacKinnon back into the line-up can sometimes be a curse, instead of a blessing.

When a superstar misses a ton of action, their rhythm is sometimes off during that first game and the rest of the team isn’t as active, because they think that MacKinnon can save the day all by himself, when instead it’s a full team effort.

Toronto Maple Leafs Front Office Deserves More Credit for Hot Start

It was a shortened season, but nevertheless, the Toronto Maple Leafs had their best regular season in franchise history last year when they finished with a .688 wining percentage

The team folded in the playoffs, like they typically do, but instead of blowing this thing up, they trusted the process and knew this team could get the job done this year. It was a slow start, but one-quarter through the campaign, the Leafs are the best team in hockey.

A lot of executives would have gutted the roster. They would have traded one of Mitch Marner, John Tavares or William Nylander and they would’ve started fresh. However, the organization saw something in this group and everyone should be happy for it.

I know that this season is far from over, but it seems different. Every player, thanks to the coach, seems to be more professional and the team seems to come to the rink, ready for business.

Mike Babcock always stressed “starting on time,” and as of late, Sheldon Keefe has actually made it happen.

The front office took a “cap-strapped” team and turned them into the best team in the NHL. They sacrificed the loss of Zach Hyman by replacing him with a $950K Michael Bunting, and also have one of the best shut-down third-line’s for only $4M total.

Not too mention, that they’ve found veteran talent scoring in Jason Spezza at only $750K and have beautifully used two Entry Level Contracts in Timothy Liljegren and Rasmus Sandin to bottom out the Leafs third-pair.

In a cap-world where every dollar spent is crucial (while still having Phil Kessel’s $1.2M on the books), Toronto has built a near-perfect team with high-end offense, shut-down forwards, solid defensive-group and a number-one goaltender.

Next. Leafs Resemble 12-13 Blackhawks. dark

The executive group deserves a ton of credit for this team’s success and let’s hope they can keep this thing going all the way until the spring.