The Toronto Maple Leafs Suddenly Faced With So Many Questions

Dec 16, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe (middle) looks on
Dec 16, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe (middle) looks on / John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Toronto Maple Leafs were fully healthy, they had Nick Robertson on the bench, and were dressing Ryan Reaves every night.

That means that one of the most pressing questions facing the Toronto Maple Leafs is "Is it too late to get a new coach before the playoffs?"

Of course, I'm kidding - sort of.

The Leafs don't have the roster to be a likely Cup Contender this season (they could win it of course, the NHL Playoffs are nothing if not a completely and utter random crapshoot) and anything short of winning is likely going to end up with them getting a new coach.

That's might seem like a good thing, but the guy who signed Ryan Reaves to a 3 year deal (honestly one of the most embarassing moves in a franchise that specializes in them) will still probably be the guy who hires the new luck with that.

The point is that the Leafs have an organizational philosphy problem and we are probably stuck with Ryan Reaves no matter how bad he is or how ridiculous it is to play him ahead of Nick Robertson, let alone 90% of the Marlies roster.

The Ryan Reaves thing is ridiculous, but that aside, the Leafs still have several pressing questions facing them as the season wraps up and thoughts turn toward the playoffs.

Pressing Toronto Maple Leafs Questions

How Long will Mitch Marner be out? The answer is that he has a high-ankle sprain, the same thing that forced Joseph Woll to miss three months, so it could be while. The Leafs are unlikely to get by Boston in the opening round due anyways, to their GM's bungling of the roster, but without Marner they're barely a playoff team.

Will Nick Robertson take advantage? One way to make up for losing Marner is for someone else to step up. Robertson has earned a spot in the lineup, but less usefull players like Jarnkrok, Domi, Gregor and Reaves get played ahead of him.

Speaking of Jarnkrok he's injured again. He's a useful player and I like him, but I'd much rather see the Leafs playing young players who have upside at this point. Jarnkrok playing ahead of Domi makes sense. Jarnkrok playing ahead of Robertson doesn't.

Who will be the goalie in the playoffs? It should obviously be Joseph Woll, but Samsonov started five of the last seven games. Both games Woll started were against Boston though, which, at the time at least, made it seem like Woll was their top choice.

Of course, they lost both games. Samsonov was on waivers and I don't care how he plays in games that don't matter, I don't think the Leafs should have ever put themselves in a situation where he is forced to be on the roster in the playoffs.

I guarantee that not trading for a goalie is something Brad Treliving is going to regret for a long time. Especially if the Leafs don't win a round and the incoming MLSE President fires Shanahan.

The Final Question the Leafs have to contend with is "How do you deal with the decline of TJ Brodie, and subsequently dressing three of the worst puck-moving defenders in the NHL?"

Brodie, Lyubushkin and Edmundson negate pretty much all of the Leafs high-flying forwards when they are on the ice. The fact that Simon Benoit is also on the roster is just insanity. If the Leafs dress all four of those guys at once they might as well be an expansion team.

I have never seen a team build a blue-line so incompatible with the forward lines they put together. How will this work?


That and many other questions haunt the fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs on a nightly basis. How these questions play out is going to decide how the rest of the season goes.