During the 2021-22 season of the national hockey league, the Toronto Maple Leafs had a historic performance accomplishing 50 wins for the first time, 30 wins on home ice, finishing with 115 points, and setting three new franchise records.
With such an impressive season, the Leafs would secure home ice in round one of the playoffs for the first time since 2004, the year they last won their playoff series. At the end of the season, their opponent would be the two-time defending champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning. The two juggernauts of the east went toe-to-toe in a seven-game series, and the Leafs would fall short once again in game seven 2-1 and be eliminated from the playoffs four games to three. However, unlike previous years where there was a noticeable lack in the Leaf's structure, this year that was not the case. This raises an important question for the organization moving forward.
The projected cap space for the 2022-23 season will go up to $82,500,000 and the Leafs will have an approximate $7,846,717 available. However, they will also have the task of managing restricted free agents Ondrej Kase, Pierre Engvall, Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren. Moreover, the icing on the cake continues as the Leafs also have multiple unrestricted free agents in Jack Campbell, Ilya Lyubushkin, Mark Giordano, Jason Spezza, Colin Blackwell, and Ilya Mikheyev.
While an argument can be made to keep the roster intact and not make any major changes given the season for the Toronto Maple Leafs. On the contrary, an argument can also be made that since the Leafs have gone 0-6 in the playoffs during the Auston Matthews and the core four era, some change is required. The issue for the Leafs moving forward is not one of how to add to the roster, but one of creativity in order to remain one of the best teams in the east.
The Leafs in comparison to the league average faired better in goals for, and goals against while maintaining the league’s top powerplay, a top-ten penalty kill, and ranked second only to the Florida Panthers in terms of 5-on-5 offense. Brendan Shanahan, President of the Toronto Maple Leafs will have some major decisions during this offseason from the on-ice players to potentially even front office staff after yet another first-round elimination.