Toronto Maple Leafs Get Tougher, But Worse

Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins
Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages

The Toronto Maple Leafs are such a frustrating team, as shown by their loss against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.

It’s funny that as Toronto Maple Leafs fans, we get so excited for grit and toughness, yet when they finally showed it, they still lost the game 4-1.

So, what does that really mean? Will this style of play translate to the playoffs and result in wins, or does the toughness really matter?

Even those people who are crazy into analytics understand that if you’re building a team, you still need toughness. However, you want that paired with skill, which is why the acquisitions of Joel Edmundson and Ilya Lyubushkin are troublesome. Both of those defensemen bring that “toughness and grit”, but they don’t bring anything else.

Toronto Maple Leafs Are Certainty Tougher, But Worse

They’re going to cross-check players and be big bodies in front of the net, but they’re going to be stuck in their own end all night and will ultimately allow more goals than they score. The old school Leafs fans will fall in love with these guys, but they’re probably going to lose in the First Round again.

Toronto’s team is built on speed and skill, led by Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and Mitch Marner. If those four players are the best players on the ice, they will win more games than they lose and instead needed to follow that style of play, but they went against it. As such, it feels like GM Brad Treliving has taken an amazing cut of steak, cooked it well done, and then put ketchup on it.

Maybe I’ll be completely wrong, and this will be the one year that the Leafs go on a magical run and silence their haters, but if the NHL Trade Deadline showed me anything, it showed me that this team is living in the past. It wasn’t that long ago that this team was run by one of the smartest and modern-thinking GMs in hockey, but now it’s run by someone who thinks it’s 1995.

It’s unfortunate to be living in a world where a good Leafs team can’t become great, but that’s just how the organization is being run now. They have so much skill and only needed a few more pieces to become elite, but instead, they’re stuck in neutral.


Let’s hope the offseason will be different and good things are on the horizon, but it feels like the only hockey team in the city that has a chance at a championship this year is Toronto’s PWHL team.