The Maple Leafs have had just one playoff appearance in the last ten seasons, with a very heartbreaking ending to that playoff run, blowing a 4-1 lead to Boston in game 7. The rebuilding process has been a very long one. This past season, they finished with a 29-42-11 record, adding up to only 69 points. Fortunately, they won the draft lottery and were given the opportunity to draft a generational talent. They seized that opportunity and picked Auston Matthews.
They had a very nice offseason. First, they acquired Frederik Andersen from Anaheim. After trading James Reimer at the deadline, they were in need of another, preferably a more talented goaltender, and they did just that by acquiring Andersen. He finished the season with a .919 save percentage and a 2.30 goals against average. Jonathan Bernier did not show he could be their starter. Due to that, they traded for next to nothing.
Their next move was adding some toughness to their lineup. They signed Matt Martin and Roman Polak to fulfill this need. Martin is a very solid bottom six forward who has led the league in hits for multiple seasons. He is also a good defensive presence. Polak is a nice top six defenseman who also brings physicality, as well as leadership for the Maple Leafs’ young defense.
The disappointment for them this summer was obviously missing out on Steven Stamkos, who, of course, re-signed with Tampa Bay two days before free agent frenzy. Still, even though they missed out on the franchise forward, their rebuilding process is looking a lot better than it did a year ago. They won’t make the postseason in 2017, but I believe they may finally be on the rise.