Toronto Maple Leafs Don't Need To Make a Big Trade Anymore

Toronto Maple Leafs v Arizona Coyotes
Toronto Maple Leafs v Arizona Coyotes / Zac BonDurant/GettyImages

The Toronto Maple Leafs have emerged as one of the best teams in the NHL, currently enjoying a six-game winning streak.

The catalyst for this surge came unexpectedly when Morgan Rielly's high-stick incident involving Ridley Grieg not only sidelined Rielly for five games due to suspension but also ignited a remarkable turnaround for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Despite initial concerns about the impact of Rielly's absence on the defensive pairings, the Leafs showcased resilience and depth, going undefeated during his suspension and delivering a commanding 7-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights upon his return.

During Rielly's absence, the defensive unit exceeded expectations, with each player stepping up to fill the gap. While individually, the defense may have appeared below-average, their collective effort proved pivotal in maintaining the team's winning momentum. With Bobby McMann emerging as a surprising offensive force, contributing nine goals in 32 games as a rookie, the Leafs have discovered an unexpected asset that has bolstered their depth and transformed their lineup dynamics.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Have Found a Winning Recipe

The resurgence of McMann has alleviated concerns about the team's depth, potentially rendering external acquisitions unnecessary.

The newfound chemistry among the players, particularly evident in the second-line combination of Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi, and William Nylander, has injected speed, skill, and grit into the lineup.

Although the decision to move captain John Tavares to the third-line may raise eyebrows, his veteran presence and offensive prowess have proven invaluable in anchoring the line alongside McMann and Nicholas Robertson.

With Tavares embracing his new role and Matthews, Knies, and Marner continuing to drive offensive production, the Leafs now boast three formidable lines featuring former or current 40-goal scorers. The strategic realignment has not only diversified the team's scoring threats but also enhanced defensive stability, with Tavares's defensive acumen complementing the offensive firepower of the third line.

Looking ahead, the Leafs appear poised to make a formidable playoff run, provided that players continue to embrace their roles and maintain team chemistry. Credit must be given to coach Sheldon Keefe for his adept handling of the lineup adjustments, which have revitalized the team's performance and instilled confidence in its playoff prospects.


As the Leafs continue to gel and adapt, they have the potential to emerge as a formidable force capable of challenging any opponent in the postseason. I've had a lot of bad things to say about this team thus far, but that narrative may be changing, as I have loved what I've seen over the past two weeks and think this team could do some damage in the spring.