Analysts expose “major red flags” in Maple Leafs' offseason

Are the Leafs really any better than last season?

Michael W.

The Toronto Maple Leafs faced another frustrating early exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, once again being eliminated by the rival Boston Bruins in the opening round. Since 2004, the Leafs have advanced to Round 2 only once, a surprising statistic given the team's talent.

There have already been several changes to the roster for next season. Defensemen Chris Tanev and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, along with goaltender Anthony Stolarz, have been acquired. Meanwhile, scrappy forward Tyler Bertuzzi has signed with the Chicago Blackhawks, and Ilya Samsonov has joined the Vegas Golden Knights. Additionally, defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin has signed with the Dallas Stars.

But how much better are they heading into the 2024-25 season? According to Nick Alberga of Leafs Morning Take, there's really not much difference given the fact that the nucleus of the team is the same. 

"Nothing's really changed," he said. "I mean, you could tell me there's been change. There has been, but it's always the same thing. When you have the same nucleus, it's going to be the same results in my world." 

Former NHL goaltender Carter Hutton echoed Alberga's sentiments, and also went back to Toronto's 2023 Round 1 series victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in what was a back-and-forth affair that easily could have ended differently. 

"You can't get into the playoffs, it wanes every year. Last year, we looked back on winning a first-round against Tampa where realistically they weren't that great, you know, like they could have easily lost that series just as well as they won it," Hutton said.

"And then just to get whacked by the Panthers this year, just to get whacked by the Bruins. They go to seven, but they can't score, especially when your team is built to score and you can't score. There are a lot of red flags there." 

Hutton concluded his comments with stating that the Leafs are essentially practicing insanity by not making any meaningful changes and yet expecting different results. 

"So I think as a fan now and as an analyst on the other side, something's got to change," he said. "It obviously hasn't. And again, it's insanity. I agree. I think you're hitting the nail on the head." 

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Source: Sportskeeda