Toronto Maple Leafs Continue To Think "Hope" Is the Answer

Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Five
Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Five / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages
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The Toronto Maple Leafs retooled their defensive-unit during Day 1 of free agency, but continue to think "hope" is the answer, when it's not.

For almost 60 years, the Toronto Maple Leafs fanbase has been built around "hope" and it's yet to work. When you have Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander under contract, you can connot use the word hope. Instead, you need to use the word "win."

You need to be as creative and agressive as possible because every other team in the NHL is seemingly trying to do that, yet the Leafs are stagnant. Do I love the moves that they made during Day 1 of free agency? Yeah, I actually do, but that's besides the point, because although I like the players, I'm not happy about term or dollars.

GM Brad Treliving signed every player to a multi-year term, instead of doing one-year deals to get the most out of players. For example, Max Domi had a bad year, yet we thought it was a good idea to give him a four-year deal. Why did that happen? Why wouldn't you try to sign a player on a "prove-it" one-year deal for $2.5M, or promote Fraser Minten/Easton Cowan into his position for league-minimum?

How is a player who scored nine goals worth $3.75M for four years? Leafs fans were yeling and screaming about Alex Kerfoot's $3.5M contract before he left in free agency, yet he was way more productive than Domi, who somehow deserved a long-term deal. It makes zero sense to me.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Continue to Make Mistakes In Free Agency

The same thing applies to Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Chris Tanev, who are both fine players. Yet, the organization decided to sign them to a six-year and four-year contract, respectively. You do not give term to 34 year-old and 32-year-old defenseman, yet that's where we currently stand.

As previously mentioned, it's not that I dislike the moves this team made. Instead, I dislike the price, term and uncreativity that they posses. For roughly $20M, they acquired a bottom-six forward, number-two defenseman, bottom-pairing defenseman and a back-up goalie. The Leafs did improve, but they didn't get a single player that will be a "difference-maker."

They will be harder to play against, but defense wasn't really the biggest issue this team possesed in the past few playoff runs. Instead, they couldn't score when the game meant the most, so instead of trading Mitch Marner, Calle Jarnkrok, Ryan Reaves and/or David Kampf to clear $17M for more forward depth, they are seemingly looking to keep everyone and just run it back, with the "hope" that something different will happen.

With the same core, nothing is going to change. Even the Tampa Bay Lightning moved on from their cornerstore player in Steven Stamkos for something different, yet the Leafs remain the same boring franchise, running it back with a group of overpaid forwards who can't get it done in the playoffs.

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I also hope that change will happen, but I doubt it actually does.