The NHL trade deadline has come and gone, and as per usual, the Toronto Maple Leafs have failed to deliver. The Leafs traded for veteran D-man Mark Giordano and forward Colin Blackwell from a Seattle Kraken team, just looking to load up on drafts picks. This trade is technically a win for the Leafs, as it provides them with a little more depth on the defensive side of the puck at a relatively low cost. Seattle received the Leaf’s 2022 second-round pick, 2023 second-round pick, and 2024 third-round pick, and they are retaining fifty percent of Giordano’s salary. There is no denying that this is a good deal as far as rental player deals go. The problem is Giordano is 38 years old and, in 15 seasons, has played a total of 23 playoff games. I get he is excited to play for his hometown, and maybe it will bring out the best in him. But let’s be serious here believers; again, management has failed, refusing to trade one of its core forwards for a top defenseman or even two solid ones. Matthews, Nylander, and Marner just can’t get it done, and it’s even worse since they added Tavares. The Leafs will most likely open on the road in the playoffs against Carolina, Florida, or Tampa Bay. It is crazy to think they match up the best against the repeat Stanley Cup Champions, Tampa Bay. But ultimately, the Leafs cannot contend with these teams, and they would most likely have to play two of them to make the semi-finals.
My issue here is why Dubas, who should be fired along with Shanahan after they lose this season, won’t trade Matthews or Marner. It is not a recognition of failure to do so, and this isn’t the business of feel-good stories like Giordano’s story. This is the business of winning or at least making it look like you are trying to win. Defense and Goaltending depth remain a real issue for this offense-heavy club as it enters the playoffs in just a few short weeks.
Let’s switch gears here for just a second; in NFL news this week, The Kansas City Chiefs, who have made it very deep in the last four playoffs, winning one championship, traded their second-best player yesterday, Tyreek Hill, to Miami. In return, they received five draft picks. Many analysts are heavily criticizing them, but no, this was the right move to do, and at the right time, it’s a very Bill Belichick style move. Kansas City is in it to win the Superbowl every year, not just making the playoffs like the Leafs. They recognized that even though they won the Superbowl two years ago, they got throttled by Tampa last year and lost in the AFC Championship this year in a game they very much should have won. Why did this happen? DEPTH or lack of it!
Will the move pay off for them? I’m not sure. Let’s see what happens next year, but they recognize that making the 3rd round of the NFL playoffs the last four years in a row and only winning once is a colossal failure. They needed to make a change. The Toronto Maple Leafs need to do the exact same thing! When I write my playoff preview in a couple of weeks, it won’t be filled with this is a cup contending team optimism. Hopefully, after this year’s loss, they will finally wake up and make the necessary changes!