It Would Be Best for the Toronto Maple Leafs Long-Term Future to Miss Playoffs

The Toronto Maple Leafs need to make a change but that won't happen unless they fail.
Fans gather at Maple Leaf Square outside Scotibank Arena,...
Fans gather at Maple Leaf Square outside Scotibank Arena,... / SOPA Images/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

This may sound crazy, but Toronto Maple Leafs fans should hope for this team to miss the playoffs next year, to invoke true change.

After re-signing William Nylander, the Toronto Maple Leafs possess four of the top 12 highest paid players in the league. Somehow a 57-goal scorer in Sam Reinhart is the 46th highest paid player, while John Tavares, Mitch Marner and William Nylander make $2M more than him.

After the 2024-25 season is over, the Leafs will gain $22M in cap-space, as Tavares and Marner's deals come off the books. That's a tremendous amount of money to be able to change the roster, however if the Leafs are contenders next year, change may not come.

In fact, if the Leafs somehow get past the First Round and find themsleves in the Eastern Conference Finals, or better yet, the Stanley Cup Finals, then Marner and Tavares are going to get re-signed.

As much as I've loved these players and appreciate their service to the Leafs, both of them cannot return to the team. Even when the team isn't any good and loses in the First Round, they continue to bring back the same players, so the only way change will actually happen is if they don't make the playoffs at all.

Best Hope is For Leafs To Miss Playoffs Next Year

I know that sounds like a wild statement, but it's true.

The organization has shown it's fans that they don't want to get crazy and would prefer to be a good regular season team, instead of trying a new method. Marner and Tavares both had no-move-clauses, so shipping them out of town was easier said than done, but they should have done everything in their power to make it happen.

By never making changes, it shows the players that everything is fine. Hiring Craig Berube may change the lockeroom, but until the players change, I don't know if much will actually happen.

I was patiently waiting a big splash or change via trade or free agency, but this will be the same Leafs once again. The same team that has lost to the Boston Bruins three times in eight years and the same team that let the Montreal Canadiens comeback from a 3-1 series deficit to win in the playoffs.

manual

This group of players can't win in Toronto, but management doesn't care, so until they miss the playoffs completely, nothing will happen. As such, I actually hope they miss the playoffs so real change can happen and a new group can emerge.