This offseason, there’s never – in my time covering the Toronto Maple Leafs – a group of unhappier fans. However, there are two things that I have noticed in almost four years of covering this team.
First, fans have not always been happy about the moves that Maple Leafs’ management has made to improve the team. Second, Maple Leafs’ fans have not always – in fact, perhaps not often – been correct about the value that the Maple Leafs’ organizational management has added to the team.
Last Season, It Was the Third Line
About this time last season, in the conversation section of posts, some fans were grumbling about David Kampf. The conversations were strikingly similar. What would the team want with this player? He had only scored one goal with the Chicago Blackhawks the season before; and, this team needed offense.
The Blackhawks were not a strong team and even they didn’t want him enough to qualify him. He was a nobody.
It turns out that Kampf was a somebody; and, he was a valuable somebody. Paired with Pierre Engvall and Ilya Mikheyev, the third line worked. In the end, it was a huge value for the team and helped them win lots of games.
That same third line was also part of the reason the 2021-2 Maple Leafs’ team set franchise records for wins and points.
Sadly, for Maple Leafs’ fans, Mikheyev’s play put him out of the team’s ability to pay him commensurately with the value of the market. So, to replace Mikheyev, the team signed Calle Jarnkrok. Jarnkrok might not be as good offensively as Mikheyev, but he’s solid defensively.
This offseason, now Maple Leafs’ fans are critiquing Jarnkrok’s value to the team in the conversation sections of the posts I write. Jarnkrok won’t be able to score; he’s too old; etc. Forgotten are last offseason’s critiques about Kampf. He’s good.
Now, the Maple Leafs’ third line is covered.
Now It’s the Maple Leafs’ Goalies Who Are Under Fire
Now the Maple Leafs’ goalie situation is under fire. These goalies are not Jack Campbell, and they’ve recently been losers wherever they played. Certainly, they cannot make a comeback with the Maple Leafs this season.
As a result of the team’s poor goaltending, the Maple Leafs are doomed to fail. Probably, they won’t even make the playoffs.
Again, my encouragement is to allow the moves to run their full course. Although these moves might not make sense to fans, they obviously make sense to Maple Leafs’ management. And Maple Leafs’ fans should allow the moves to run their full course.
Maple Leafs’ Management Has Earned the Right to Fans’ Patience
And if the team’s management has earned anything, it’s earned the right for fans to be patient. That’s my encouragement for Maple lanes fans this season. Watch and see.
There’s no doubt that the goalies on their faces; and, the Maple Leafs as a team could be sent back because of that. But last year’s moves were critiqued just as much as I recall, and they worked out well.