Is the Stanley Cup Window Closing for the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Toronto Maple Leafs, Sheldon Keefe. (Photo by Jack Dempsey/Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs, Sheldon Keefe. (Photo by Jack Dempsey/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs are without a doubt one of the most talented teams at the forward position in the NHL.

Every year, the Maple Leafs are one of the scarier teams offensively, having multiple players who can put up points without hesitation. General manager Kyle Dubas and head coach Sheldon Keefe agree that the Maple Leafs have what it takes to win a Stanley Cup.

However, regardless of offensive talent, the team always falls short in the playoffs.

The Maple Leafs have tried different things in order to help the team advance. Different lines, adding toughness, different systems, all with the same result in the end.

Sooner or later the Toronto Maple Leafs will have to find a way to playoff success or the team could find could be torn apart in the off-season.

Why do the Toronto Maple Leafs need to win in the playoffs now?

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a top nine that can go with any line in the league. The top six are the best top six in the league, offensively. However, the playoffs are about more than scoring goals. It is preventing goals. It is nastiness throughout 200 feet.

With the recent additions of Ryan O’Reilly, Noel Acciari, Erik Gustafsson, Jake McCabe, and Luke Schenn, the Maple Leafs believe they now have that team to make a run at the Stanley Cup.

With the Eastern Conference being wide open, there is a chance this is the year they could make it to round two. With the recent additions, would that be enough? Dubas has built this team to make a long run in the playoffs and one round may not be enough.

To be blunt, it is clear this season is Stanley Cup or bust.

Let’s look at the questions if the Toronto Maple Leafs are out of the playoffs early again. Does Dubas still have a job after the season? What about head coach Sheldon Keefe? Will Mitch Marner be traded? What about William Nylander? Will both have new places to call home next season?

This playoff stretch is critical to the off-season for the Toronto Maple Leafs. This team could look very different come opening night for the 2023/24 season.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are a deep team, yet the same questions are still there. Is the defense good enough? What about the goaltending? Dubas has added some toughness that should be suited for the playoffs.

The goaltending tandem still has to be sorted out. Ilya Samsonov started slow, then heated up, and now is playing average hockey. Big free agent signee, Matt Murray, started off playing extremely well, then struggled, and is now hurt again.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, top to bottom, look better than most teams in contention for the Stanley Cup. The team is improved and deeper than in seasons past.

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Will those trade acquisitions lead them to disappointment or a Stanley Cup? If not a Stanley Cup, the team may be forced to make some difficult, yet necessary, decisions.