Thoughts on Another Toronto Maple Leafs Playoff Failure

May 4, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34)
May 4, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) / Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs are once again eliminated from the playoffs after losing in overtime in game seven of their first round series.

This marks the seveth time in eight tries that the Auston Matthews led Toronto Maple Leafs have failed to make it out of the first round. That, however, is sounds much worse than it is because most teams don't as good as the Leafs did so fast, so their first four playoff losses occured when most rebuilding teams wouldn't be able to make the playoffs.

Regardless, the 2023-24 season has come to an end.

For the Leafs there will be plenty of time to disect and discuss what should come next (definitely not the trading of MItch Marner) but for now, a few thoughts on the game:

Thoughts on Another Toronto Maple Leafs Playoff Failure

It was exciting that Auston Matthews played, but he clearly wasn't up to being his normal self, and neither were Nylander or Marner. Tough break, but they probably deserve more credit than they're going to get. I don't really think any of them deserve criticism, they didn't choose to stack the team's blue-line with a bunch of guys who can't carry, shoot or pass the puck.

It was brutal luck that Joseph Woll was injured. He was the hero of the last two games and I think the Leafs are playing Florida next week if he plays tonight.

Next, I don't blame the team or the players for losing. This one is on management. It was a miscalculation to not trade for a goalie, and it was an unforgivable offense to their fans and players not to add to the team at the trade deadline.

The GM built a blue-line that was incompatible with the team's high-flying forwards, and this led to scoring 12 goals in a 7 game series, and only scoring 3 goals once in seven games.

The coach made a terrible decision to sit Nick Robertson for game seven at the expense of playing an extra checking forward. Robertson had a several good scoring chances throughout the series and his shot is a weapon that could have been used to jumpstart a terrible power-play.

Speaking of the power-play, I don't know it its just bud luck or bad coaching, but scoring one power-play goal over seven games and losing in OT of the last game is also unacceptable.

It was a bad break that Woll couldn't go tonight, but he's a serious injury liability and probably always will be. The Leafs were wrong not to pursue a goalie at the deadline and it cost them big time in two ways - one, they had to play Samsonov, and two, Woll was predictably injured.

Samsonov played fine on Saturday night, but not great. The first goal was stopable and he misplayed the bounce on the last goal.

Keefe was a dud and that was probably his last game as the Leafs coach. Sitting Robertson, keeping Matthews with Holmberg and Jarnkrok all night, starting Samsonov in the games where he didn't have to, I could go on.


The Leafs players did have a gutsy performance, but ultimately they are a scoring team that tries to become something else every year in the playoffs and it never works. Good game, could have gone either way, I wish they won, but the coach and GM are just as much at fault as the players.