Blame Dubas, Why did Keefe load up the first line? Dubois' fault for injuring Muzzin. None of these of the reasons. Did they help, no it did hurt but this team is flawed and many know it.
First, this team needs to mature in a different way. They need to realize what playoff hockey is. Losing to Washington and Boston both times was wow we gave it all we got they were the better teams so next year we have it. The problem there, the core thought the wins should be easy. It's not that's why Montreal beat the Penguins. Heart, determination, belief, defence, grit and a never quit attitude. That is something learned from playoff disappointment. The leafs core even Tavares has never learned that come playoff time.
Second, Tavares got his shot and while is he very good, he should not be the captain. It should be Matthews. Matthews was skating circles and constantly trying despite having all available forwards and defensemen on him all series. Tavares did not show the type of leadership I believe we need which his heart, grit and determination. Matthews attempted that. Give him captaincy.
Third, this team was built to be able to build defence as the salary cap grew that is not going to happen. This come to our yound GM Dubas, grow some balls take to Nylander and tell him for the better of the team we need to trade you and Johnsson.
Fourth, resign Spezza and Clifford, they showed the heart needed for the 4th line and we need that depth.
Fifth use our forward depth to improve our defensive depth with atleast 1 more quality defender like Muzzin. We have many like Reilly, and as shown from the Barrie Kerfoot trade all scoring defensemen is not enough. Barrie never meshed.
Sixth, grow some balls and threaten this team. Look, I traded Kadri, Nylander and Johnsson you keep failing you will be next If I have to blow this team up again I will. I know you have it in you now prove it.
Seventh, study the tapes of hard nosed teams like Columbus day after day. Torts learned from the World Cup took that to Columbus and made this team into a quality defensive team that never quits. Bobrovski was not the reason for success, it was their defensive game. That is all on Torts. He looked washed out, but instead of allowing himself to lose like so many other coaches, he learned. The leafs need to learn from him and his team.
To finalize, grow some balls and make changes, doesn't need to be gut wrenching, but change the look now.