Skip to content
GO TO bet365 Sports
  1. NHL

Toronto Maple Leafs offseason: Five biggest questions

Following yet another first-round exit in the Stanley Cup playoffs, it’s time for the Toronto Maple Leafs to reflect and assess their needs for the 2024/25 season.

With that in mind, we’ve shared what we believe should be their focus during the 2024 offseason.

Figure out the big four

One of the primary reasons that the Leafs continue to be considered arguably the most disappointing team is due to their lofty expectations, and that’s thanks to such an elite core of skaters. Of course, that starts with sniper Auston Matthews.

Despite falling just a goal short of the first 70-goal season since 1992/93, he won yet another Rocket Richard Trophy, clearing the next skater by 12 goals. That only overshadows how great William Nylander (40 goals) and Mitch Marner (59 assists) have been for the team, not to mention a great long-time captain in John Tavares.

However, such an abundance of talent leads to an extremely high salary cap and, ultimately, lofty expectations. Toronto has locked up Nylander through 2030 and Matthews through 2028, but both Marner and Tavares are set to become unrestricted free agents after this upcoming season.

Deciding what to do with their contracts is paramount for the Leafs to win their first Stanley Cup since 1967.

Establish a coaching philosophy

Not only has it been nearly 60 years since hoisting Lord Stanley, but that was also the last time Toronto even made it to the Final. To help change that, they decided to part ways with former head coach Sheldon Keefe after five years and sign Craig Berube.

Berube was fired by the St. Louis Blues after 28 games this past season, but that was after a tenure of six years, leading the team to the playoffs in each of the first four seasons, the first of which was a Stanley Cup victory. Since then, the Blues have been known as a physical team with depth.

Well, those are two attributes that the Leafs have lacked. Much like Paul Maurice’s balanced approach has brought the Florida Panthers to back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals, Toronto fans are hoping that Berube can do the same.

Fix the blue line

We’ve focused on the core four of the Leafs thus far, and rightfully so, but that is more of a money issue. As for the play on the ice, the blue line absolutely has to be improved. Much like the Edmonton Oilers, defense is what has held back the Leafs.

Clearly, the Oilers improving their blue line has helped them get over the hump, as Connor McDavid and company are in the 2024 Stanley Cup Final. A fellow Canadian team in the final series should only motivate Toronto more and having Morgan Reilly signed through 2030 is certainly a good start.

Sign long-term, reliable goaltending

Our previous point transitions perfectly into what many fans may consider to be an even more significant point of emphasis than the contracts of the core four. That would be goaltending, as not only does it need to improve, but the Leafs need to stop signing mercenaries as goaltenders.

The most recent near dynasty in the NHL has been the Tampa Bay Lightning, and are they signing goaltenders on a year-to-year basis? No, they have an all-world netminder in Andrei Vasilevskiy. That’s not to say that Vasilevskiys are just lying around, but time needs to be put into a long-term, stable option.

Not only is Ilya Samsonov currently an unrestricted free agent, but Toronto currently has only Joseph Woll under contract, who went 12-11 as a starter this year.

Who is ultimately constructing the roster?

With all the roster questions we’ve gone through, it’s just as important for the franchise to establish who is making these decisions. That’s thanks to several position changes in the front office in recent years, again, due to failing to meet lofty expectations.

This year, it was a head-coaching hire, but last offseason, the team moved on from former general manager Kyle Dubas. That was supposed to be the change that the team needed for this most recent season, but clearly Brad Treliving wasn’t able to complete the year-to-year turnaround.

Between Treliving and President Brendan Shanahan, who will construct the future of the Leafs? They’ve won just a single playoff series since 2004, and that was just a first-round win in 2022/23. Expectations are too great in Toronto for these questions to continue going unanswered.

This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

Related Articles

bet365 uses cookies

We use cookies to deliver a better and more personalised service. For more information, see our Cookie Policy

in Bonus Bets
BET $10
in Bonus Bets
Join Now
Deposit required (min $10). Paid in Bonus Bets. Bonus Bets wager excluded from returns. New customers only. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply. View Full Terms and Conditions.