The Team’s Lacklustre Start Exposes the Faults Early Enough to Fix Them
One must admit, it has been frustrating to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs so far this season.
The forward group has yet to mesh, the defense has ranged from suspect to horrible, and Ilya Samsonov has been shaky in net.
However, the optimist in me says that this may well be a blessing in disguise. The Leafs have had strong starts in the past, yet we’re still waiting for the parade down Yonge Street.
Getting off to a great start to the regular season, and even sustaining that start, doesn’t guarantee anything.
Remember last season’s Boston Bruins, who set an all time NHL record for most points in a season (135), then flamed out in the first round of the playoffs versus the Florida Panthers.
This is the time of year to see what we have and don’t have, and make adjustments as necessary. Winning games via outstanding goaltending, fortunate bounces or opponents who basically beat themselves may feel better than losing, but those types of wins can mask fundamental flaws that end up going unaddressed.
In net, it appears that Joseph Woll has the talent to be a number one goaltender.
To be seen is how many games he can handle, how he reacts to adversity, and whether his injury problems are now behind him.
Ilya Samsonov has to show he can return to the form he showed at times last season, and whether he too can stay healthy. Martin Jones is a competent backup.
On the blueline, Brad Treliving has to make some moves, and soon. Even before the injuries to McCabe, Timmens and Liljegren, the defense group was thin. William Lagesson is not an NHL regular, nor is Simon Benoit.
The John Klingberg signing has so far not panned out. T.J. Brodie and Mark Giordano are holding their own, but likely to fade due to age, especially if they continue to play a lot of minutes.
Up front, the new acquisitions haven’t added a lot to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tyler Bertuzzi has started to show some improvement, but hasn’t hit the scoresheet much at all. Max Domi is just filling a roster spot, and Ryan Reaves may add more to the team in the dressing room than on the ice.
All in all, there’s lots of room for change and improvement. Thankfully, there’s plenty of time to fix things. But Brad Treliving cannot afford to waste that time.