Missing: Matthews and Marner
Another first round exit for Toronto, another year the Maple Leafs stars go missing in the playoffs
Hey weekday subscribers. Just a reminder that we tackle timely topics in our Pregame Skate weekend columns, which are for paid members only. Last weekend, Thomas Pepin shared his thoughts on the consequences of being in a tough division this season, and Andrew Woodbury did a deep dive on the Maple Leafs’ future — which we’ll briefly discuss today.
Maple Leaf Stars Don’t Show Up in the Playoffs Again
What Happened: The Toronto Maple Leafs blew a 3-1 series lead on the Montreal Canadiens with the 3-1 loss on Monday night. When the Leafs needed their stars the most, they could not deliver. In a matchup they were heavily favored in, Matthews and Marner were nowhere to be seen.
What’s Next? The front office in Toronto put together a strong squad this year … on paper. Unfortunately, the game isn’t played on paper. How many more years can the Leafs hold on to these young stars making as much as they do? Matthews, Marner, Nylander, and Tavares making as much money as they do will make it hard to add pieces unless they move one of their contracts.
The Stars: The only player who made an impact in this series out of the big 4 was Nylander, providing offense from the second line as best he could. Tavares was out of action after a nasty injury sidelined him, so it’s hard to grade his contribution. Matthews and Marner, however, need to be better. To command 11+ million dollars per year and not produce is unacceptable in any market, nevermind Toronto.
Will the Big 4 all be back in Toronto next season?