The all star break has just come to an end and the Toronto Maple Leafs were back in action falling 3-2 to the New York Islanders with former Leaf Pierre Engvall scoring the go ahead goal to end the game Monday Night in Toronto.
While this game was not necessarily bad it still continues to show the weaknesses that this Toronto Maple Leafs team has had all season - namely defense and goaltending.
If this team really wants to take a serious look at themselves and wants to make changes to be more competitive come playoff time they need to make some improvements.
Here are three areas the Leafs need to focus on to improve.
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Bring in some much needed defense:
The first and most obvious change would easily have to be defense and bolstering that top four. Heading into the season most fans knew that this d-core wasn't going to be enough to hold up all season. Outside of Morgan Rielly and Jake McCabe they really do not have any full time NHL defensemen who are solid top four players. And even McCabe may be better on a third pairing, although he has been excellent since returning from an early season injury.
This Maple Leafs defense is more than one piece away from being competitive but they have to be looking for some upgrades. The top priority should be a star defensemen who makes the team significantly better. e back.
Goaltending still remains a question:
While Ilya Samsonov seems to have returned to form a bit during the last few games there are still questions as too whether he is the same goalie from last year or earlier this season and if he can continue this in the long run.
With Joseph Woll still out for at least the next few weeks and Martin Jones being inconstant they still have room to improve.
The prize would be to land a guy like Juuse Saros from Nashville that would be a massive haul that would require a lot of moving pieces. The Leafs could also look to guys like Elvis Merzlikins or John Gibson who can bring some stability to the net and step in come playoff time.
Heading into last years playoffs the Leafs had a center depth of Matthews, Tavares and trade deadline acquisition Ryan O'Reilly. with the struggles of Max Domi the Leafs should be looking to bolster their forward core down the middle. Center depth can give a team lots of flexibility and room to work with down the middle.
These are the three biggest areas of concern for this team and it will be interesting to see what Brad Treliving has in store for the deadline.