The Maple Leafs’ Latest Blunder Might Be The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Them IG News

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The Toronto Maple Leafs could not answer in overtime in Game 5 against the Florida Panthers. With this, their 2022-23 season ended on a disappointing note.

Although the Maple Leafs swept the Tampa Bay Lightning by winning a playoff series and in the process, the loss to the Panthers took the shine off their first round victory.

The Game 5 loss came on their home ice in front of fans. It is fitting in the sense that how they played on home ice throughout the playoffs.

The Maple Leafs held home-ice advantage against the Lightning and Panthers. They went 1–5 at home, including an embarrassing 0–3 against the Panthers. This is completely unacceptable for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations.

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As disappointed as fans should be with this result, it’s not the end of the world, not by a long shot. In fact, this latest Maple Leafs blunder might actually be the best thing to happen to them. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s not crazy at all. let’s explore.

change can be good

It is widely believed that maple leaves are about to undergo some kind of transformation. Whether it’s in management, on the coaching staff or on the roster, running back doesn’t appear to be an option.

Remember the last time a team suffered an embarrassing loss that forced a change? The Lightning were blown out in 2019 by the Columbus Blue Jackets. That sweep proved to be the best thing that ever happened to the Lightning. Why? Because it told them they had to change. How different would things have been if the Lightning had defeated the Blue Jackets and not gone through all that pain?

The Lightning made changes to the makeup of their roster. The result was three consecutive trips to the Stanley Cup and the Stanley Cup Finals. Sometimes, teams need to experience the pain of losing to finally realize what they have to do.

The Panthers went through this experience a little differently. They were eliminated from the playoffs in the previous season’s second round by the Lightning. This was after steamrolling the league in the regular season. GM Bill Zito saw a need and filled it.

Zito made one of the biggest trades in recent memory by acquiring Matthew Tkachuk and then signing him to an eight-year deal for the South Florida fixture. Tkachuk and the Panthers eliminated the Maple Leafs in five games to advance to their first Eastern Conference Finals since 1996.

Never underestimate the power of feeling shamed and hurt the way they did. The Florida teams made changes after being swept. Those changes led to greater success in each case. The Maple Leafs would be wise to follow this lead.

Maple Leafs are still good but need a change

A five game loss to the Panthers still doesn’t change the fact that the Maple Leafs are a good hockey team. He has enjoyed copious amounts of regular-season success. But they haven’t enjoyed the ultimate success they’ve found in the playoffs.

So major changes are needed on the Maple Leafs. The goal is not to be a great regular season team. The goal is to win the Stanley Cup. Their current roster isn’t even half made up yet. What kind of message would be sent to everyone by playing this back?

Since shutting down the core four, the Maple Leafs have tried different approaches. They have added pieces of varying depth. He has tried different goalkeepers. He has used the trade deadline to acquire players he felt would propel him over the top. It’s not good enough yet. The Core Four had the most playoff wins in a season with five this season. They want 16.

The Maple Leafs core has never won more than five games in a playoff season. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

What hasn’t been touched yet? Core Four. Is it time to change the dynamic of the Maple Leafs? They have to do something. But before they head down that path, they have questions to answer.

The biggest of these questions is who will be the general manager? Is Kyle Dubas coming back? Then once the lead is in place, where do things go with Auston Mathews? Is he worth the $13-$15 million he could fetch on the open market? Given their playoff success so far, this may not be a slam dunk answer.

With respect to the original four, consider this startling situation. In the series against the Panthers, Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and William Nylander each scored three goals. That’s a cap hit of around $40 million that gets three goals. Now consider that Nick Cousins ​​and Gustav Forsling combined to score three goals, two of which were game winners. Their combined cap hit is just under $4 million.

This should open the eyes of everyone in the Maple Leafs organization to the need for change. He put half of the salary cap in four players. You need a team to have playoff success. It hasn’t worked yet.

True Transformation Yields Results

The good news is that the window is still open for the Maple Leafs to compete in the playoffs. He has got a lot of talent which keeps the window open. But if they want to take the next step as a team, they need to make the right changes.

The right changes get results. The Panthers were willing to trade Jonathan Huberdeau, a player who scored over 100 points and was a major reason for their regular season success. Zito deserves credit for doing something that was met with a ton of resistance and doing it because he felt it was needed. Who’s Laughing Now?

Bill Zito Florida Panthers
Bill Zito made changes and it’s paying off. (Photo by Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)

Are the Maple Leafs willing to consider trading any of the main four at this point? If they want to win deep in the playoffs, they’d better think about it. It may not be popular and may be ridiculed. But if it gets the Maple Leafs any closer to the Stanley Cup, they will have to do it.

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From top to bottom, the Maple Leafs need to look themselves in the mirror and truly evaluate themselves and their thoughts. Are they able and willing to make the changes needed to win? If they do, this situation may still work out for the best.

The Maple Leafs have the potential to make this loss to the Panthers the best thing that ever happened to them. But it only works if they swallow their pride, admit that what they did didn’t work, and then make the necessary changes. We’re going to follow their moves to find out what’s important to them.

If this is winning the Stanley Cup, there will be major changes the hockey world will be talking about all summer long. That may be it at this point.

Luckily for the Maple Leafs, they have the Lightning and Panthers to thank for showing that change can bring success. It’s the only thing holding them back from their ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup.


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