The Toronto Maple Leafs have made a lot of moves during the off-season, including a fair few acquisitions in their attempt to end their record-breaking Stanley Cup drought. Though the team also lost a fair few players, their general position has gotten better as most deals have seen them move up in the league, while also shedding some cap space.
The first in the list of Maple Leafs losses was the loss of Jared McCann, a player who never got to play with the Maple Leafs after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins organization. The player in question was taken in the expansion draft by the newly formed Seattle Kraken organization.
The Leafs lost two major players in the net starting with David Rittich who had only recently been acquired from the Calgary Flames. As well, the Leafs lost goalie Frederik Andersen to the Carolina Hurricanes, after having acquired a goalie from the Hurricanes.
The Leafs also lost defensemen Zach Bogosian who now plays for the two-time Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. While he is a stellar player, the loss won’t be felt too heavily by the Maple Leafs as they have a large amount of depth in the defensive position.
The most notable loss from the organization was top-six forward Zach Hyman who frequently played on the front line with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. The player was frequently seen playing first-line minutes and was able to be slotted into the majority of positions in the lineup should any player need replacing. This would be a huge blow to the team considering that they also lost forwards Nick Foligno, Stefan Noesen, and seemingly Joe Thornton.
The Maple Leafs made some notable acquisitions, including Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek. The goalie has been strong in the past and is younger than Andersen. There is a chance that Mrazek could contribute to a further extended cup run as the Leafs will look to make it past the first round.
The Leafs also added a fair bit of depth to their forward lines, bringing in Ondrej Kase from the rival Boston Bruins, who largely fills the same role as Zach Hyman while also showing some ability in terms of protecting his teammates. As well, the team signed Nick Ritchie from the Bruins, which has seen many people saying that he should be playing on the first line once he gets to the Leafs. A final notable forward signing comes through the signing of David Kampf from the Chicago Blackhawks.
The only notable acquisition in defense for the Leafs is former Minnesota Wild defenseman Brennan Menell, a young player with a lot of potential ahead of him, who could easily slot into the Maple Leafs third line, or play the role of a seventh D at this point in his career.
So have the Maple Leafs improved in the free agency period? Currently, all signs point to yes, they’ve acquired forward depth, as well as players to fill the holes left by players who are no longer playing for them. In defense, the Leafs have created a chance to allow players to grow into the system and have a chance in The NHL to prove themselves, rather than being obligated to play veteran defensive players.
Finally, when looking at the Leafs in net, they acquired Mrazek, who has looked stronger since coming back from injury than Andersen, which may see them in a stronger position than before to move into a playoff run. There is a chance that with all these acquisitions, the Leafs may shape up better for the coming season.
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