The Toronto Maple Leafs are sticking with the same lineup tonight, and while they could easily defeat a Bruins team that is well overdue for a loss, a sever beatdown might be the best thing for them.
If they win by playing a solid front-to-back game for the first time all season, that will be the best outcome, obviously.
If, however, they cover up their errors and weaknesses by getting lucky, or by having the goalie steal another game for them, then that isn’t so good.
Scoring away their problems, or having a good goalie cover them up, is the worst thing that could possibly happen, because this team needs help now, not in a month or two.
Toronto Maple Leafs: A Rough Loss Tonight the Best Thing Long-Term
The Leafs are a good team with obvious problems:
- Their blue-line is weak
- They do not have a 3C
- Their bottom six is essentially horrible, and they have a lot of parts that do not fit into the spots the player’s flaws force them into.
- All of their off-season additions have been bad (worse, still, is that the analytics were VERY CLEAR that Bertuzzi was overrated, that Domi, Kampf and Reaves were replacement players, and that there was a very low chance for a rebound at age 31 from John Klingberg).
- The coach makes bad lineups (i.e Calle Jarnkrok on the first line).
In the NHL, there is almost like an unwritten rule that teams don’t make trades at this time of year. Suggesting that the Toronto Maple Leafs fire their brand new GM, their newly signed coach, their entrenched President, or even that they give up on any of the players they signed after ten games is not something any single self-respecting media member will do at this point.
But that’s the problem.
By the time the season reaches the point where team’s normally act, the Leafs could be a team just trying to make the playoffs. They might blow their shot at the Atlantic Division Title by the middle of November and as we know, winning the division gets you about a 50% easier path to the Stanley Cup.
The Leafs simply cannot afford to wait. They need to identify problems and be proactive.
I normally would suggest bailing on players this early either, but Jake McCabe’s problems date back to last year. Domi, Klingberg, Reaves and Kampf were analytically bad signings in the summer.
The lack of depth, and their lack of elite talent on their blue-line was an easily identifiable problem. So was the lack of a third-line centre.
And therefore, since it is otherwise so unlikely that the Toronto Maple Leafs make the requisite moves in time to save their chances at a division title, the best thing that can happen to them is that they repeat their performance from Tuesday night.