Toronto Maple Leafs and Brad Treliving Right to Stand Pat

2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

For those waiting for a saviour to salvage the Toronto Maple Leafs season, the quiet passing of the NHL trade deadline was surely a disappointment.  While other teams in the Eastern Conference geared up for playoff battle, Toronto General Manager Brad Treliving was only able to close the deal on three minor additions.

None of newcomers Connor Dewar, Joel Edmundson or prospect Cade Webber are likely to move the needle at all on the Toronto Maple Leafs chances of success moving forward.  But was it realistic to expect much more from an organization lacking in trade capital and far from looking like a Stanley Cup contender?

At last year’s trade deadline, former GM Kyle Dubas sent draft picks away to acquire Ryan O’Reilly, Luke Schenn and Noel Acciari, none of whom stayed past the end of the season.  The reward for “loading up”, “going all in”, or whatever you may call it was a single playoff round victory.

This year’s roster has more holes than last season’s, so it made little sense to ship off Easton Cowan, Fraser Minten, or a 1st round draft pick just to satisfy those yelling for Treliving to “do something”.

Toronto Maple Leafs Need More From Their Stars

For better or for worse, this team is wedded to the Core 4 strategy for at least one more season, and no amount of moving the deck chairs on this ship is going to change that.  The Leafs will live or die in the playoffs based on the performance of their stars.

After next season, John Tavares’ $11M cap hit (per comes off the books, Mitch Marner will undoubtedly be signed to a lucrative long-term deal, and the salary cap will continue to increase.  The Toronto Maple Leafs will continue on with three highly paid star forwards.  That’s a good thing.

For now, as frustrating as it is (as a fan) to watch your team spin its wheels while the competition adds players for the playoffs, patience is probably the best course of action.

Does this mean I’m happy with Brad Treliving’s first year running the show?  Absolutely not.  However, his mistakes were made last summer, not last week.

The offseason signings of Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi, Ryan Reaves and John Klingberg have all been failures, the fact that an awful defence corps was not significantly upgraded is inexplicable, and the gamble on not acquiring stronger goaltending looks highly questionable at best.

To make things worse by squandering the organizations’s few blue chip assets to acquire rental players or aging veterans for yet another futile swing at playoff success would have been unforgiveable.


Treliving will have to go back to the drawing board this summer to come up with a different plan for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make.