How Does the Current Toronto Maple Leafs Roster Compare to Last Season?

The Leafs significantly changed their defense and goaltending during NHL Free Agency. Has their lineup improved from the one that finished last season?
Edmonton Oilers v Dallas Stars - Game Two
Edmonton Oilers v Dallas Stars - Game Two / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages
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The Toronto Maple Leafs were part of a record-setting billion-dollar day during NHL Free Agency. General Manager Brad Treliving's goal was to find help for the blue line.

He signed Chris Tanev, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and Jani Hakanpaa to address the team's needs on defense. Goaltender Anthony Stolarz, formerly of the Florida Panthers, also signed on with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Notable names from last year's roster will no longer wear blue and white after finding new homes elsewhere. Tyler Bertuzzi, Ilya Samsonov, T.J. Brodie, Joel Edmundson, Ilya Lyubushkin, and Noah Gregor will suit up in different uniforms next season.

With a major date on the NHL's offseason calendar now complete, it is a good time to assess the Toronto Maple Leafs projected lineup for next season and compare it to the one that finished last year.

The Core Forwards Remain Unchanged

Despite the cries of many for management to break up the core of the Leafs forwards, the team's hierarchy correctly ignored the pleas. The Maple Leafs will again hitch their wagon behind stars Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and John Tavares.

Max Domi also returns to the fold after he inked a four-year extension with the team. Bertuzzi's exit plus Craig Berube's hiring opens up an internal competition for the Leafs young veterans and top prospects.

In his second full season, Matthew Knies will have more opportunity to continue his ascension as a dominant power forward. A spot is likely available for Fraser Minten or Easton Cowan if they can repeat their strong performances from last year's training camp and their seasons in the CHL.

Nick Robertson also needs to recognize the opportunity in front of him. He shouldrescind his trade request and grab hold of the chance for an increased role that he can earn by playing well.

The bottom six on the Leafs depth chart at forward leaves much to be desired. It must be addressed between now and next year's trade deadline.

The loss of Bertuzzi hurts, but paying him what he signed for in Chicago, would have been foolish considering the Maple Leafs other needs. Instead of allotting money to Bertuzzi, it was used to find help for the blue line, which was the right choice.

Counting on the development of their youngsters and prospects was the correct call by Leafs management. This year's edition of the team's forwards is on par with the group that finished last year, but with a much higher ceiling.