The Defensive Liability Perspective
With the big news in Toronto of John Tavares signing with his childhood dream of a team, does he actually make the team that much better? Toronto is in a period of time right now where it's the best chance to win the Stanley cup but does the leaf lineup actually pack enough punch to beat out a Washington, Tampa, Boston and more. Let's take a look and break down Toronto's roster with their off seasons losses and signings.
Depth down the middle;
Toronto has one of the best depth down the middle with Austin Matthews, JT, Kadri and whoever the 4thline will be. Will Toronto be looking to a rookie for the 4thline Center? Can the handle the pressure of Toronto? Only time will tell.
Questions on the wing;
This is where Toronto will either do well or bust. With the departure of JVR and his 36 goals, an aging Patrick Marleau and a few unproven rookies will Toronto's wingers be able to play with the big boys of the eastern conference. Don't get me wrong they do have a few speedy wingers and potential players coming through the system but is it really enough to make that much of a difference? Besides the top 2 lines they have a lot of uncertainties in their lineup with unproven rookies.
The Never changing blue line;
Toronto year after year rolls with one of the most mediocre blue lines in the NHL. Morgan Rielly will always be the spotlight back there but after that is a lot of question marks. Toronto needs to find a way to add some more puck moving depth aswell as the defensive capabilities. Ron Hansey skates with cement in his skates and is the $4.5 million Zistev really the best option for a Stanley cup winning team in the NHL?
Is there a good spark back there;
Goaltending for Toronto has been better since Anderson came in a couple years ago. Played great in the playoffs a few years ago but despite that Anderson barely finished in the top 20 for save % and 31stin GAA in the 17-18 season which could also in relation for the lack of Defense on Toronto. If Anderson proves this season he cannot be that Elite#1 goaltender will Garret spark be given the opportunity for this chance to be a starter?
Overall Toronto will make the playoffs this year but the real question is what will they do in the playoffs? Will the 97 points of Bozak and JVR be missed and is it worth signing Tavares for $11 Million a season versus adding scoring depth? Toronto will be an exciting team to watch for the next few years but will they stay in a state of mediocrity where they have the "Depth in the system" but never able to pull it together when it matters like the Ottawa Senators from 2000-2008. Lots of Super Stars, lots of depth and potential players but no results.