Toronto Maple Leafs: Breaking Down the 2023-24 Blue-Line

Morgan Rielly #44 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates with the puck against the Florida Panthers during first period action in Game Three of the Second Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the FLA Live Arena on May 7, 2023 in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers defeated the Maple Leafs 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Morgan Rielly #44 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates with the puck against the Florida Panthers during first period action in Game Three of the Second Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the FLA Live Arena on May 7, 2023 in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers defeated the Maple Leafs 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs, Jake Muzzin
Apr 26, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin (8) is sure going to be missed this year. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Outlook of the Toronto Maple Leafs Blue-Line

You don’t need a magic eight ball to know that the outlook is poor.

A 40 year old, 4 x 30 year olds and a guy the coach won’t use in the playoffs is not a recipe for success.

The additions of John Klingberg and Simon Benoit really show how much the team misses Kyle Dubas, and make you wonder if they realize how bad this group is or if they are actually going to go into the season with it.

The team is desperate for an elite player.   Elite players are the most important thing on a hockey team, and in the NHL, at the professional level, far more important than depth or balance.

Every team in the NHL with an elite defenseman has a better blue-line that the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Vegas, Florida, Dallas, Carolina, New Jersey, Edmonton, Boston, New York, Colorado, Tampa, Long Island, the Jets, the Senators, Calgary, Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Columbus and Buffalo all have better blue-lines.

I’m sure the other 12 teams might even make a case for having a better blue-line, but for sure those 19 teams have better groups of defenseman than the Leafs do.

Can a team with (the generously ranked) 20th best blue-line in the NHL win the Stanley Cup?

Probably not.  The Toronto Maple Leafs are going to have to make a big improvement here if they want to compete.

Next. The Leafs Are Going to Trade Nylander. dark

They keep making the playoffs and getting disappointed, and maybe the time is now to add the one thing they’ve been missing all these years: a legitimate #1 defenseman.