The Toronto Maple Leafs fell out of contention for the playoffs in the final week of the season. They had an eventful offseason.
Toronto finished the 2013-2014 with an eight game losing streak, and Brendan Shanahan, hired just after, promised a “culture change” in the organization. I believe Toronto has made some good changes during this offseason.
One of their problems was a lack of depth, especially at the defensive position. They were 4th in number of goals against, with 256 allowed. They ended up trading Carl Gunnarsson to St. Louis for Roman Polak. This brings a more physical presence to their lineup. They signed defenseman Stephan Robidas, which will bring some solid depth. Bringing scoring to the bottom six, they signed Mike Santorelli. He scored 10 goals and a total of 28 points last season. Signing Daniel Winnik gives them a nice defensive forward presence in the lineup. David Booth gives some solid depth scoring. His production was down this year, but a fresh start may be good. The final two free agent signings were Leo Komarov and Petri Kontiola.
The Maple Leafs re-acquired Matt Frattin from the Blue Jackets for Jerry D’Amigo. They re-signed defensemen Jake Gardiner and Cody Franson, forwards Peter Holland, Carter Ashton, Trevor Smith, and Troy Bodie, as well as goaltender James Reimer.
Also given a contract extension was head coach Randy Carlyle, but fired assistants Scott Gordon, Dave Farrish, and Greg Cronin. They hired Peter Horachek and promoted Steve Spott from the Toronto Marlies, although I’m always a fan of the head coach picking his own assistants. In the front office they fired Claude Loiselle and Dave Poulin and replaced them with Kyle Dubas and Brandon Pridham.
Overall, I believe they improved. Are they a playoff team? With the amount of competition, I’m not sure.