May 15, 2022 – For Leaf nation it’s essentially like living in the movie Ground Hog Day. A really good team racking up the points during the regular season and failing for the sixth year in a row to move forward.
Frankly Leaf fans deserve better. Connor McDavid put on a show leading his team past LA in their game 7. There clearly was desperation in his play and of many of his key team mates. Power forward Evander Kane rocked the series for the Oiler, and goalie Mike Smith put on a show as well.
The Leaf core had an ok series. Matthews put up manly numbers, but in a game of inches you need more. The biggest stat failure was goalie Jack Campbell who had no shut outs against a Tampa team that wasn’t of par as their previous Stanley Cup juggernauts.
Campbell put up a 3.33 GAA and .893 sv%. The high priced Leaf core had ok numbers. Not bad, but not rising to the occasion. There were no real heroes for the team and clearly the moves at the deadline that GM Kyle Dubas made were not the ones to put the team over the hump, and this season the team really really needed to get over the hump.
Frankly none of the Leafs stood out statistically to this scribbler. The quote of the play offs being a game of inches was really evident in this series.
Matthews, Marner, & Nylander are now veterans. Their window needs to be filled before it closes. Captain John Tavares, while still a force, clearly is not going to be performing anywhere near his cap hit, and probably has an untradeable contract at this time.
The D is getting old, and doesn’t have a second offensive D to support Morgan Reilly, and the goalie position isn’t clear with Campbell being a UFA, and Mrazek being a mess this season.
Short of trading Mitch Marner the team is in cap trouble to resolve its needs.
The Kyle Dubas regime clearly is in the hot seat at this point. A well supportive fan base needs a good play off run. This year Dubas clearly failed at adding the right pieces to get that run.