In this post, I would like to talk about the 2018-2019 season of the Toronto Maple Leafs. I will start with a little introduction where I will talk about the progress that began a few years ago and finish with my analysis of the next season.
Toronto started the rebuilding process four years ago with the signing of Mike Babcock and Brendan Shanahan and Lou Lamoriello after long years of poor management and a series of bad decisions that resulted in the team being at the bottom of the league and wasn’t attractive enough to attract players to come and sign with the team. With Shanahan and Babcock and Lou, there was a new spirit in the Toronto management. They came to Toronto with one goal which was to make Toronto great again like she was in the seventies. To make Toronto a team that will compete and will be at the top of the league, and also will be attractive to other players in the league who will want to come and play for the team.
Babcock and Lou made a lot of great decisions in trades which gave Toronto great places in the draft which allowed them to draft players like Matthew, Nylander and Marner, building the core of young players which has been leading the team in the last couple of years to success. Also, the trades that they did were with the goal of making the team a team that will contend in the playoffs and reach the ultimate goal of playing in the Stanley Cup Finals and hopefully bring the cup back to Toronto in the next couple of years.
As I said, the process that Toronto has been in the last of a couple of years has come to maturity, resulting in Toronto making the playoffs for two consecutive years after more than ten years where Toronto was at the bottom of the league. Also, they made records for most wins and points in the team’s history last season despite the fact that most of the players are young and barely 22 years old. The maturity of the process has also come to fruition in that Marleau came to Toronto last summer and has said in interviews that he came because of Babcock and the opportunities that he has with this young team. Another aspect of the maturity of the process is that Toronto has managed to sign Tavares who is one of the biggest and best players in the league and in his interviews has always praised Toronto as a team and the management of Toronto which gave him a great opportunity to make something special in his career
I think that Toronto this season is in a unique place and has a great window of opportunity that they haven’t had in a long time. They have a great roster of young players and also great veterans like Patrick Marleau and John Tavares and Kadri who will help the young players to improve their game and will guide them with the experience that they have in their long and great careers. Most of their top players are signed for the next couple of years which gives them the privilege to have a solid foundation of a strong and excellent team in years to come. They only need to make adjustments, especially in the defence, and then Toronto will have a great team in the years to come and will hopefully bring the Stanley Cup home in the next couple of years. They need to give Nylander a long-term contract, but I think that Nylander also needs to show some maturity and to look at the big picture. They need to sign Matthew and Marner this season to a long-term deal to preserve this amazing core of young and veteran players that Toronto has.
I think that Toronto has one of the best teams in the league this year and one of the top 3 offensive teams in the league. I see only a problem with the defensive side of the team which is their Achilles heel. They need to sign a top defenseman who will help make the defence better and more solid and reliable. I think that Toronto has some great prospects in the AHL that play with the Marlins and some great young players that can give a lot to the team.
Kyle Dubas came to Toronto this summer in replacement of Lou Lamoriello and is doing a great job and is responsible for signing John Tavares and some other great players that I haven’t mentioned here. I think that he brings a young perspective and in the first couple of months with the team he has made some great decisions, and I love to see what he has done with the team. I think that he and Babcock make an amazing dual and are making Toronto great again. He is continuing on the path that Lou Lamoriello and Mike Babcock started, and it is going very well.
In Conclusion, I have read a couple of analyses that said that Toronto could win the Stanley Cup this season but I am not sure that this will be the case. Toronto has an amazing team, and one of the best teams in the league and I think that they will have a great season and will reach the playoffs and hopefully go deep in the playoffs. I think that with some adjustments, if it is through trades or calling up a couple of players from the minors, Toronto can be a better team and a complete team on both sides of the ice. In my opinion, they will have another great year, and I think that this year will be better than the last couple of years. The management needs to keep these young players like they said they would. If they accomplish this goal, the future will look very bright, and there is hope of seeing Toronto bring the Stanley Cup back home in the next few years.