The blame has fallen hard on Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner as the Toronto Maple Leafs couldn’t clinch a first-round series win again this postseason. Toronto has now lost seven straight post-season series, and dropped eight consecutive contests where it could have eliminated an opponent. That includes seven since 2018 with the core of Matthews, Marner and William Nylander.
Matthews, who won the Rocket Richard Trophy in the regular season was nowhere to be found. He had one goal in the series. Marner did not score a single goal in the series, collecting four assists in seven games, and fans were quick to point out his $11 million price tag, stating that he should be moved this summer for not being a clutch postseason player.
Matthews cannot believe that some people think Leafs management would break up such a great group of players, would give up on a great teammate like Marner. This is what he had to say on the idea that Leafs forwards, particularly Marner, may need to split up:
“Mitch is an unbelievable player, he’s an unbelievable teammate. In this room, everybody loves Mitch; everybody loves everybody. We really have a tight bond. All the noise coming from the outside.
“You guys have fun with that...”Matthews scoffed at idea of Marner trade.
However, Matthews’ teammates did mention during their respective press conference that they expect changes to come.
Marner himself was asked about that possibility - the Leafs breaking up the core - and answered this, started by complimenting his general manager Kyle Dubas, maybe to get him on his side.
“We have an unbelievably talented general manager.
“Everyone just wants to get into panic mode and do stuff and try to change something up, but I think they (management) have a lot of confidence in our team. It’s up to them to decide what they want to do. We all know how much talent we have.”
This is to be continued, no doubt.