6 Reasons Why the Maple Leafs Are Just An Average Team Looking to Get Lucky

Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Islanders
Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Where the Toronto Maple Leafs Went Wrong (Continued)

3. The Blue-Line Stinks

They have a very superficially defensive blue-line in that yeah, they're big and mean, but they also play in a way that forces the team to actually play more total defense by volume.

This blue-line is predictably bad at getting hemmed in their own zone. Of the Leafs nine NHL quality defenders, five of them (Benoit, Lyubushkin, Brodie, Giordano and Edmundson) are among the NHL's worst puck-moving defenseman.

4. The Composition of the Blue-Line Makes No Sense

The defense doesn't in anyway shape or form make sense from a team building perspective when compared to the forwards they have.

Instead of putting together a highly mobile puck-moving blue-line to compliment the NHL's best offence, like a sane person would have done, the Leafs - AS THEY HAVE DONE EVERY SINGLE YEAR WITH NO SUCCESS WHATSOEVER - refused yet again to lean into their strengths and have, for the umpteenth time, loaded their roster with the grizzled playoff warrior types who do not actually have anywhere close to the positive effect on the outcome that their magical-thinking benefactors assume them to have.

Over the years we've seen Luke Schenn, Zach Bogosian, Ilya Lyubushkin, Nick Foligno, Brian Boyle, Tomas Plecanek, Kyle Clifford, Wayne Simmonds, Ben Hutton, Noah Acciari, Sam Lafferty etc.

You can add Connor Dewar, Lyubushkin (again) and Joel Edmundson to this list.

Every single year they look at the thing they do better than anyone else - scoring - and act like they're allergic to it, "Defense wins in the playoffs". they say, so every year they completely change their play style to what they think a playoff team shoudl do and it never works.

It is optimal strategy to lean into what you're good at. It's better to be great at something than average at a bunch of things.