As another NHL season comes to a close, the Toronto Maple Leafs are left to ponder their future after another disappointing playoff exit. With changes inevitably coming to the team in the off-season, many fans and analysts are wondering who among the team’s core members will be gone next season.
Firstly, it is important to note that the Maple Leafs have several key players who are either unrestricted or restricted free agents this summer. Some of those players include Zach Hyman, Frederik Andersen, Alex Galchenyuk, and Joe Thornton. While it remains to be seen whether any of these players will be back in Toronto next season, they are not considered to be part of the team’s core.
When it comes to the core members of the Maple Leafs, there are a few players who may be on the chopping block. The first player who comes to mind is defenseman Morgan Rielly. While he is a fan favorite and one of the team’s top defensemen, he is entering the final year of his contract with a cap hit of $5 million. With the team needing to sign several other players and stay under the salary cap, Rielly may be a casualty of the numbers game.
Another player who could be gone next season is forward Mitch Marner. While he is one of the team’s top offensive players, his $10.9 million cap hit has been criticized by some as too high. Trading Marner would give the team some much-needed cap relief and could bring in pieces that would help the team in other areas.
Lastly, there is the possibility that the team could part ways with head coach Sheldon Keefe. While he has only been with the team for a little over a year, the team’s struggles in the playoffs this year have caused some to question his ability to lead the team to a championship. If the team decides to let Keefe go, they will be looking for a coach who can help them take the next step and become a contender.
In conclusion, the Maple Leafs are likely to make some changes in the off-season as they try to build a winning team. While some of the team’s core members are likely to stay, there are also players and coaches who could be gone as the team looks to improve and become a championship contender. Only time will tell which players will be wearing a Maple Leafs jersey next season, but one thing is for sure: there will be changes.