The Toronto Maple Leafs have a lot to think about as they get ready for the 2023-24 season.
Training camp has taught us a lot about the current state of the Toronto Maple Leafs and there is a lot to be proud of.
For example, the team’s prospect pool is much better than we all expected and the team’s top-nine seems stacked.
However, there are still questions on the team’s blue-line and that will continue to be the achilles heel throughout the regular season, unless something drastic changes.
Will the team dare trade William Nylander, or could they package some of their young players for a top-pairing defenseman?
That seems unlikely based on the salary-cap, but GM Brad Treliving has done a good job throughout his previous tenure emphasizing defense.
He’s continued to acquire top-pairing defenseman like Noah Hanifin, Dougie Hamilton and Chris Tanev, showing that as a priority.
The Leafs defensive-group is pretty weak right now and unless Jake McCabe, TJ Brodie and Morgan Rielly make a big step forward, we could be looking at a lot of 5-4 games, similar to what we saw during the team’s preseason game on Monday night against Montreal.
High-scoring games are fun during the regular season but it’s a recipe for a first-round exit. I’m not going to judge Treliving or this squad until after the NHL Trade Deadline this year, but before we even get that far, let’s take a closer look at the three players who will most likely be the team’s last cuts.
They had a good run during the preseason, but unfortunately these three players look like the odd-men out.