Now that the Toronto Maple Leafs have completed their coaching change, by firing head coach Randy Carlyle and replacing him with assistant coach Peter Horacek as interim head coach with Steve Spott . Now the Leafs need to improve their consistency according to general manager Dave Nonis. Nonis states that the Leafs are not trending the right way. There isn’t seem to be an ascending progression according to his view and opinion.
This means that the Leafs will need to make some changes. For those who expect a total overhaul, it just won’t happen. The Leafs are not in 30th place like the Hurricanes or the Oilers. They have solid elements in place like Morgan Reilley, Jonathan Bernier, Tyler Bozek, Nazem Kadri and…Phil Kessel. Their farm team is solid and have some good prospects on the horizon.
But the rumors persisting this week following the firing of Carlyle and the comments made by Phil Kessel in the dressing room tend to lead us to believe that the chemistry or lack of reigning in in the Leafs dressing room is an issue as well. Kessel who is fresh from a long term contract of 8 years at 8 million a year may be problematic for the Leafs to unload during a season. Not knowing what the salary cap will go up to or down to could be an issue for other teams. There is no doubt there is a market for a player like Kessel but the player is toxic in a dressing room.
Trade rumors emerged this week also for veteran like Dion Phaneuf, Joffrey Lupul to be on their way out of Toronto. Of this duo, you can expect Lupul to be offered and can present a decent return. Phaneuf is also on a long term hefty contract and is still the captain of that team. He is respected amongst his peers and teammates. So to reverse the trend, the Leafs may need to do some tweaking. This will involve adding some players with grit and can score. Players like Ryan Oreilly who is said to be on the trade rumor market with the Colorado Avalanche.
On Friday, Brendan Shanahan, Toronto Maple Leafs president of hockey operations reiterated that nobody is untouchable on the team following a discussion with his players after Friday’s skate. He ensured to mention to his team that the onus was on them to perform and they can still make the playoffs. But he also stated that the management will do whatever changes possible to make the team better.
One other player who could be made available is Cody Franson set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1st. So far, no negotiations have really taken place. Leafs are definitely in the hunt for Ryan Oreilly and are poking for players like Antoine Vermette with the Arizona Coyotes and even Eric Staal from the Carolina Hurricanes.
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