The Toronto Maple Leafs have been under fire in the off season so far. The team has seen a few key players leave without getting anything in return. Dave Bolland, Leo Komarov and Paul Ranger are just a few examples.
Jay McClement and Mason Raymond also opted out of re-signing with the team. Plus, the team is scrambling to figure out what to do with goalie James Reimer, who filed for arbitration earlier this month.
Finally making moves
The organization brought in veteran defencemen Stephan Robidas and has now signed forwards Peter Holland and Carter Ashton to new contracts.
Holland's contract is for two years set at $1.55 million. Stephen Robidas will likely be paired with recently acquired Roman Polak from the St. Louis Blues. So it’s not as if the GM Mike Nonis has done nothing throughout the free agency period.
But looking at the present roster, I still believe this team has a lot of work to do. The organization has kept their core players like Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak and Dion Phaneuf. But this team can’t depend on five guys to accumulate the entire squad’s points.
Joffrey Lupul and David Clarkson must have a better season this year if this team has any hope of challenging for a playoff spot.
On the defensive end, Dion Phaneuf needs to do far better than he has in recent years. The 29 year old Captain only tallied a total of 31 points this past season. Nazem Kadri had a very inconsistent season as well, struggling with injuries and quite a series of cold streaks.
Room for improvement
If the team doesn’t bring in some more players, it’s going to be another average season - they need to find a buyer for Dion Phaneuf and get a couple of players in return.
It’s too bad Nonis wasn’t able to sway Derek Roy or Michael Cammalleri to Toronto. I believe its players like these that Toronto need. Saku Koivu would also be a good addition to the team as well.
The defensive side needs work meanwhile. The bottom line is this team has missed out on most of the top quality buys so far. Confidence is not very high within this team.
Even assistant Captain Joffrey Lupul stated that it will be a long time before this team will be able to battle teams like the Los Angeles Kings.
If goalie Jonathan Bernier can have a more consistent year, the Leafs may get into the playoffs. But if things don’t change soon, I believe they may be headed for another frustrating season filled with disappointment.
I hope Dave Nonis has a few cards up his sleeve to improve this team before the season starts.