The Toronto Maple Leafs had the lead heading into the third period, by the Boston Bruins managed to end their season prematurely with a wild Game 7 victory. Jake DeBrusk scored his second of the night on a great individual effort as the Boston Bruins stormed back over the final 20 minutes to stun the Leafs 7-4 last night to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Another chapter for the Bruins, but it also means another one for the Leafs. While Toronto has proven it can compete on the big stage and become an even stronger contender in the near future, many believe specific changes will need to take place for them to eventually reach the Stanley Cup finals and raise the prestigious trophy. While changes are doomed to take place with many contract extensions to offer to star players such as Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander, other pending free agents are expected to be let go due to the salary cap puzzle happening in Toronto. James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak have probably played their last game in a Maple Leafs uniform.
But what if an even bigger change was made - and that, before the summer and free-agent season kicks off? According to Greg Wyshynski of ESPN, the Leafs will need to make one important change in order to be successful in the offseason: "Find their next GM." Here is how Wyshynski explains it:
"Someone other than Lou Lamoriello could be leading their offseason. There has been some speculation that the 75-year old could take a different role with the team. Could Mark Hunter or Kyle Dubas be given the reigns?"
The 75-year-old Lamoriello joined the Maple Leafs in July 2015 following a long stint with the New Jersey Devils that produced three Stanley Cup championships. There has been chatter since last summer that a meeting took place where it was stated to Maple Leafs brass that this would be Lamoriello’s last season as GM. Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos recently suggested assistant GM Kyle Dubas could be the best option to take over.
Then, with the help and support of Lamoriello, the new GM could make the tough decisions on their free agents, and on finding a way to improve the Leafs' defense, possibly via a blockbuster trade.
"Only four teams gave up more even strength shots and they gave up an average of 33.9 shots per game. They could use two defensemen. Dream scenario would be that Drew Doughty wants to become a free agent next year and the Leafs can somehow trade for him."
New chapter indeed!