The Toronto Maple Leafs 2023-24 regular season is off to a slow start, and fans are showing signs of panic. However, the Leafs have only played four games and have a 2-2 record. If their record was 0-4, I could understand the panic, but it’s not.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are becoming notorious for having slow starts. Last season, the Leafs started with a 4-4-2 record in their first ten games. The Leafs started the 2021-22 season with a 5-4-1 record. By the end of both seasons, the Leafs finished with impressive records and finished each season with over 110 points. (Stats from NHL.com)
I don’t see a cause for concern yet, but if the Leafs record is 2-8 or 3-7 by the ten-game mark, then it might be time to worry. A poor start like that would likely put head coach Sheldon Keefe on the hot seat. His possible replacement, assistant coach Guy Boucher, stands beside him every game. There is no telling how long of a leash Keefe has with Leafs general manager Brad Treliving.
After scoring 13 goals in their first two games, the Leafs have scored only twice in the last two games. With the defense not playing well and the goaltending looking shaky, the Leafs need offense to win games. Leafs GM Treliving said he’s actively looking to upgrade the Leafs defense, but until that happens, the offense must be more consistent.
What’s Next for the Toronto Maple Leafs?
The Toronto Maple Leafs have four more games on this five-game road trip. They will play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, the Washington Capitals on Tuesday, the Dallas Stars on Thursday, and the Nashville Predators next Saturday. The Leafs will end the month with a home game against the Los Angeles Kings on October 31st.
Game number ten on their schedule will be November 2nd against the Boston Bruins in Boston. Depending on what the Leafs record is after that game will determine whether they are having a slow start or a bad start. I think five wins or better will calm people down. Four wins or less, and the panic will continue, along with a few fans screaming for the entire team to be blown up from top to bottom.
To find success, the Leafs need better efforts from their newest players. John Klingberg, Tyler Bertuzzi, Matthew Knies, and Max Domi are underperforming. Some will argue that they are still learning the Leafs system, but they’ve had all training camp and preseason to learn the system. To put it simply, they need to play better.
Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov also needs to play better. He has looked pretty shaky in his first three starts.