Of all the Eastern Conference clubs with playoff hopes, Toronto has the worst record over its past 10 outings (3-4-3). As the stakes have risen, the Leafs have dropped.
“The NHL is too good a league to think you can outscore your mistakes,” coach Mike Babcock told reporters. “When you’re a team pushing for the playoffs, it gets more and more competitive as it goes on, so you have to play right. That’s just the way it is.”
One thing people seem to forget is that the Leafs are not suppose to be making the playoffs this season, yet alone the next season. Babcock is still rebuilding this team from the ground up and people are so fixated on winning that they have forgotten the main goal with the new Maple Leafs.
Looking back to this time last year it was a total gong show. Shanahan and Lamoriello have really changed the franchise around, moving out players, bringing in players and of course drafting Auston Matthews. Without question Matthews is one of Toronto’s franchise players and one I hope they can hold onto until his career is done. Sure that’s a lot of want considering we are in season one of Matthews career, but he’s just that good and makes the players around him that much better.
Auston Matthews is Captain material and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see the C on his chest as early as next season.
it’s a good time of the season to take a look at where the team has been in recent history and where they are now. Leaps and bounds have been made this season and I feel it’s the start of something big to come in time. That’s exactly what the Leafs young players need, time and success in the process.
A playoff run would be a great confidence boost and of course the experience that goes hand-in-hand with it. But that should not be our main focus. You guys need to stop focusing on winning and realize it takes time to get there.
The Leafs trades for Boyle and also Eric Fehr from the Pittsburgh Penguins were welcome statements from management to the team’s current players – that the long rebuild spearheaded by president Brendan Shanahan and general manager Lou Lamoriello is pretty much over and they see the Maple Leafs as a group that could make a move in the final month of the season.
“When I was in Tampa the expectations weren’t terribly high when I got there. They were expected to probably make the playoffs, but we went to the Cup Final that year,” Boyle said. “Before the year you put down – the press and the media puts down what they think is going to do what. Generally they’re pretty close, but there’s always things to change during the season. We have a chance to do that. I think that’s something they’ve been building here for a while and if I can help that along, that’s a priority of mine and that’s what I’m focused on doing.”
The Maple Leafs entered the trading deadline period with a reported $15 million in salary cap space because of contracts being put on long term injured reserve. They could have made a big, splashy trade for a high salary player but opted to stay the course and fine tuned some areas with Boyle and Fehr – pending unrestricted free agents who didn’t require a lot to procure their services.
There is hope for Toronto filling their defensive needs as it’s an expansion year and with all of the salary room the Leafs will have on top of the franchise trending up; we fans may be pleasantly surprised and happy we waited until the off-season before paying a premium for a quality defenseman.
So please Leaf fans and NHL fans, do us all a favour and RELAX. This team will do many great things and they all start from then ground.
Mark my words, the Toronto Maple Leafs will be a playoff winning team over the next few seasons.
Until then, all you crazy, annoying, over dramatic fans need to focus on something else and cry over another team.