It's a Coin-Flip, but if the Toronto Maple Leafs Lose, Here's Why

Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins
Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages

The Toronto Maple Leafs finished an 82 game season in 3rd place in their division, ensuring that they would have a nearly impossible path through the playoffs to the Stanley Cup Final.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are a picture of mediocrity, finishing 10th overall, and 12th in expected-goals percentage.

They are the NHL's highest scoring 5v5 team, and it's 14th best defensive team (going by total goals against at least).

Basically what that means in tthat the Leafs are a one-dimensional offensive juggernaut that can't defend. (stats

How can they still be a one-dimensional offensive team after seven years of Auston Matthews? None of this is good enough.

It's a Coin-Flip, but if the Toronto Maple Leafs Lose, Here's Why

Win or lose in the upcoming playoffs (and I really hope they win) this season has been a failure. Auston Matthews is the best player to ever wear their uniform and he's at the absolute peak of his powers. It is inexcusable that they did not augment their roster in a year when they have such a weapon.

Not to be overly dramatic, but what possible reasoning could their be to justify sitting on all of your assets during the single best season a member of your franchise has ever had?

Why didn't anyone in the Leafs Front Office have the leadership or the guts to say "Guys, this is a one-in-a-million season we've got here, let's not waste it."

To enter these playoffs with the worst blue-line and goaltending out of any playoff team is an embarrassment. I just wanted to say this before the playoffs start, because even if they win the Stanley Cup this will still be true. Brad Treliving had about the worst year of any GM in hockey.

The could have turned Brodie and Kampf into $8 million in cap space. Jusse Saros was floated as being available. Hasn't anyone ever thought, after seven seasons, that just paying whatever it costs to get one of the best goalies in the world to pair with Auston Matthews might just be the secret to unlocking playoff success? (I mean, it's so simple it's almost stupid).

Mitch Marner's high-ankle sprain the day before the trade deadline would have been capitalized on by the Golden Knights, and are the Leafs not an Original Six Team? Why not put him on the LTIR and add a star player to the roster? It's not like stars were hard to come by - Guentzel, Hanifin, and Hertl were all traded for fairly low prices.

If the Leafs lose, and they might, it's because they didn't do what was necessary to surround Auston Matthews with the kind of quality team he deserves. The goaltending and blue-line are not good enough to win a Stanley Cup, and therefore the team was mismanaged.

Rant over. I think this is a fun team to watch and I hope they do great. I just think it was wasted opportunity and I thought the bar after having Matthews on the team for seven years was higher. I don't think a tenth place overall finish and a starting goalie who was recently unclaimed on waivers is very good support for a guy who just had one of the best seasons in NHL history.

Anyways, I predict the Leafs will surprise everyone and just dust the Bruins when Auston Matthews has the playoff series we have always known he was capable of. He's coming into the series having not scored on his last 24 regular season shots or his last 26 playoff shots.


BUT - in reality, this series is a coin-flip of two evenly matched teams. One is built for the playoffs with defense and goaltending, and the other fits the literal definition of a barn-burning fire-wagon team. But it didn't have to be that way. The Leafs had the motive, means and opportunity to improve their team and, for whatever misguided (probably) corporate reasons, chose not to.