Checklist: What the Toronto Maple Leafs Need to Win the Stanley Cup

Jan 27, 2024; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) warms up
Jan 27, 2024; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) warms up / James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
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What Else the Toronto Maple Leafs Need to Win the Stanley Cup

A top-pairing defender: Much like the Franchise-level Goalie, this is hard to come by.

If you look around the league, a lot of the best defenders - Adam Fox, Dougie Hamilton, Devon Toews - were traded at one point. It's sufficiently rare, however, that you can count of first rounders going for guys like Chris Tanev and Sean Walker, so I am not expecting miracles.

The thing I don't want the Leafs to do is overpay for a formerly good player who will be insanely expensive compared to what they will bring to the table. Players like Adam Larson, Colten Parayko and Chris Tanev fit this bill. Not that they're necessarily bad players, but considering their cost and upside its just not worth it.

A Third Line Centre : I know a lot of people love Max Domi, but the Leafs weren't able to win the Cup with Ryan O'Reilly as their third line centre, and ROR to Domi is a drop off akin to going from 4K TV to 1986 Toshiba floor model.

It's unfortunate that O'Rielly was injured a lot for his time in Toronto and that the Leafs ran into an insanely hot goalie, because the 1-2-3 combo of number-once centres is still the best way to assemble a team in today's NHL.

A Trimming of the Fat : All 0f this wishlist can be made into a reality by moving out high priced talent that isn't giving back any value for the cap space. Ryan Reeves, David Kampf, Ilya Samsonov and TJ Brodie combine to make almost $12 million dollars.

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That is a good thing, because the core of this team plus about half of the other players make up the main part of a potentially awesome hockey team, and if these guys can be swapped for players making similar money but actually delivering the goods, then a Stanley Cup is would become a distinct possibility.