The Toronto Maple Leafs are starting to look more and more like the kind of young team that is capable of competing in the upper ranks of the National Hockey League and that has some wondering about what direction Leafs management will take as the playoffs draw near.
Matt Larkin of the Hockey News believes that Leafs management will stay the course as they continue to move towards their long-term goal of being a contending team for several years to come, even if they were to find themselves in a Wildcard slot. Instead he believes the Leafs could look to sell assets at the deadline.
Better yet – who says the Leafs can’t still behave like a “seller” at the trade deadline and shop some of their aging vets? The kids are outplaying them anyway. Polak and fellow veteran UFA Matt Hunwick have been downright horrible defensively. Former No. 1 pivot Bozak now toils on the third line. The likes of Leipsic and Kapanen may well make this team better today if spots on the depth chart opened up for them.
While some fans may bristle at the notion of playing a solid face-off man like Tyler Bozak, the Leafs have repeatedly stated that they are dedicated to the slow burn, and trading players like Bozak and Roman Polak now could be in the best long-term interests of the team.