Major changes are reportedly on the horizon for the Maple Leafs

Understandably, patience is running out.

Michael W.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are on the verge of yet another Round 1 Stanley Cup Playoff collapse after a great regular season, as they find themselves trailing the Boston Bruins by a three games to one margin heading into tomorrow night's pivotal Game 5 at TD Garden. 

There has already been plenty of chatter that the Leafs could be considering major changes in the offseason if they're not able to mount a comeback, and that was exacerbated by noted NHL Insiders Elliotte Friedman and Darren Dreger. 

According to Dreger, a shakeup is in the works for the "Core 4" of the Leafs, which is comprised of Auston Matthews, John Tavares, William Nylander and Mitch Marner if Toronto ultimately does bow out in this series. 

"Somebody's going to have to pay the price when the Maple Leafs lose to the Boston Bruins in round 1," Dreger said. "Yes, that's obvious. But who is it? We talk about the 'Core 4'...It's not a 'Core 4', it's a 'Core 2' because Matthews and Nylander have extensions and Marner and Tavares do not.

Something is going to change in that core this off-season. you can take that to the bank. So what's the change before that happens? Everybody keeps looking at the new sheriff in town [Keith Pelley] being the head of MLSE and expecting that he is going to be so upset that he is going to take a machete to hockey operations. That means Brendan Shanahan goes. Brad Treliving, is he going anywhere? I don't see it. Sheldon Keefe as head coach - I can understand [if he's let go] and I can guarantee you that Keefe would expect that. He's had multiple chances and it hasn't worked out."

Meanwhile, Friedman implied that the hourglass is almost up for Toronto's Core 4, and that management isn't going to wait any longer for the group's talent to eventually elevate them. 

"You always bet on talent and assume they're going to figure it out. I don't think you can do that here anymore," Friedman said. "Number one, Marner's contract, he's got 1 more year. That's going to force you into a decision. Tavares' contract has 1 more year. It's going to force you into a decision and you can only give so many votes of confidence to the same group and they did one last summer. So this is their last chance to prove that they should stay together, and Monday morning, it is hanging by a thread.

There's no question we're on the precipice of an end of an era in Toronto that a lot of people that are surprised it didn't have more success than it should've."

Which of Toronto's Core 4 is most likely to find themselves playing elsewhere next season if their current campaign ends this week? 

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