The curse lives on. The excuses live on. The reality is one thing, Toronto did not finish the job.
The stars and the famed core showed up. They played the way they should and did many good things that should have resulted in wins. Overall, Toronto was the better team by inches but they still lost.
This shows that changes are needed. All bets are off type of changes, but temperance is needed as well. Untouchables are essentially Matthews, Marner, Bunting, Reilly, and Liljegren.
Everyone is on the table. Here is where the question lies. Do you risk removing Keefe for a chance at Trotz? Trotz is proven and could very well be better but are the others available better than Keefe? That is the million dollar question.
Tavares has a theme as captain pre-dating to his islanders days where his teams don't reach that next level. His play has gotten better and his leadership is seemingly improving. If you trade him, you need another high end, 200 foot player 2nd line center for less. That won't be easy to find.
Nylander should be on the block. But this kid played exactly as advertised. Everyone would want him but same as Nylander, you need a high end top six forward that scores 65+ every year for less.
This leads to the top 9 forwards and defensemen. Kerfoot, Mikheyev, Kase, Simmonds, Holl, Muzzin. This is where the most likely changes will hit.
Let the ufas walk except for Giordano. I loved Mikheyev but many of goals are empty netters, his speed was welcome, but we can find his replacement for less. Kerfoot is the interesting case. Can we find an equal or better replacement for him? The answer is yes but dependent on timing.
Muzzin was great over the playoffs but there is one overaching problem with the leafs defense. No power play shooters. Muzzin and Holl should be available but we would need a defensively responsible with a strong shot on the power play. This guy would be the 2nd unit but can jump to the 1st to create a different look. The one internal to help. Sandin, as he heals can he improve his shot enough?
Lastly, Giordano. Can we convince him of the Spezza and Simmons contracts? Then a resounding, yes we need to resign him.
In short, yes changes are needed and something is needed to give the players the needed pressure to make sure the hump is crossed over.
Time is now and something needs to be done. Not earth shattering, but change is needed.