NHL Rumors: Toronto Maple Leafs Finally Ready To Move on From Core Four?

Changes Are Coming in Toronto

Every year since 2020, there has been talk about the Toronto Maple Leafs making changes. This probably should have started after their loss to the Montreal Canadiens in 2021.

However, here we are again. But this time, the Maple Leafs want to make more challenging decisions than in previous years.

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We all know Shanahan has a year left on his deal. Last year, we also saw the history between Shanahan, former Leafs GM, and current Penguins GM Kyle Dubas. Dubas is believed to have been willing to address the complicated issues last year, but the organization was not ready. Now they are.

Shanahan took responsibility for the team’s lack of playoff success, calling them “unacceptable.”

“Our results in the playoffs have not been good enough. That’s on me,” Shanahan said to the media on Friday.

The biggest takeaway is that all options are on the table. The “Core Four” was no longer supported.

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“We will look at everything this summer and will consider everything with the intention of making the Maple Leafs better and to win,” Shanahan told the media. He declined to speak about the future of specific players.

However, those who watched and were there knew who Shanahan was talking about.

As NHLRumors.com has documented, Mitch Marner and John Tavares are entering the final years of their contracts. Both players are eligible to sign extensions with the organization on July 1st.

Toronto extended Auston Matthews and William Nylander this season, so there might not be an appetite to do the same with Marner and Tavares. From the sounds of it, the Maple Leafs will look at all options regarding both of them.

NHL Rumors: Will the Toronto Maple Leafs ask Mitch Marner About Waiving His No-Movement clause? Would He Waive It?

“It has certainly become evident that we have to assess all of those things and assess if we have to do some very difficult things to make the team better,” Shanahan said. 

General Manager Brad Treliving followed Shanahan by telling those in attendance that it was time to make the tough decisions.

“We need to find a way to do the hard unsexy things longer, and they’re not related to skill,” Treliving told the media.

Whether the Maple Leafs trade or let one of them walk for cap space is still being assessed, but the team is finally willing to part with one of the group’s core members.

Chris Johnston: “Without saying it explicitly, the #leafs leadership/management couldn’t have made it more clear reading between the lines that they’re going to explore moving one or more members of their core this summer.”

Will it be easy? Nope. All the players have no-movement clauses in their contracts, which they earned. However, it is not impossible, but it will be more challenging this year than it was last year.

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Pierre LeBrun: “As I’ve said many times before, one of the damaging effects of the Dubas/Shanahan divorce last summer was losing the last window to look at moving core guys before their full NMC’s kicked in. Can’t ask a new GM to come in last summer and feel comfortable doing that right away. So now the work is more delicate and challenging if that’s where the Leafs are going. Doesn’t mean it can’t be done. But it’s way harder.”

It will be interesting to see what Treliving does. Elliotte Friedman noted on the Jeff Marek Show that Treliving identified areas of need for the Maple Leafs, which included goaltending and special teams.

Not to mention, Treliving is looking to act quickly on hiring a new coach for the team.

Chris Johnston: Brad Treliving says the #leafs want to be thorough in their search for a new head coach, but adds “we also understand there are other openings.” “We’re not waiting.”

It will be a fascinating time with the Toronto Maple Leafs as we head into the offseason.