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Toronto Maple Leafs Must Keep Core Four Strong With Craig Berube In Charge – Hockey Writers – Toronto Maple Leafs

Ever since they were eliminated in Game 7 in the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Boston Bruins, speculation has been rife as to what kind of changes the Toronto Maple Leafs will bring in the 2024-25 season. This team has continued to disappoint year after year in the playoffs, which has many fans thinking that there will be major changes.

Related: Map Leaves: 3 Potential Trade Areas for John Tavares

One of those changes has already happened, as Sheldon Keefe was fired shortly after the Maple Leafs exit. He was replaced by Craig Berube, a coach who brings winning experience as he lifted the Stanley Cup as head coach of the St. Louis Blues in 2019.

Maple Leaves Are Best for Taking a Last Shot

While firing Keefe was an important step, the majority of Maple Leafs fans want, and expect, more to be done. For many, the “four” of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and John Tavares have proven that they can’t bring the team to the Stanley Cup, and their huge salaries prevented them from being both general managers (GM). ) Kyle Dubas and current GM Brad Treliving from addressing other holes on the roster.

(L) Brad Treliving Leafs GM, Keith Pelley, CEO, Craig Berube, head coach, and Brendan Shanahan, President, Toronto Maple Leafs ) r) Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Craig Berube is introduced. (RJ Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Of the four, Marner has become the whipping boy. The 27-year-old is one of the game’s most offensive producers each regular season, but he lacks the physical strength and drive required to have playoff success. His postseason performance this year has been poor, as he managed one goal and two assists in seven games against the Bruins.

Many fans are hoping to see Marner traded this offseason, and that appears to be a possibility. That said, Marner will be the one to say that, as he is about to enter the final year of his contract with a no-movement clause. In other words, if he wants to stay there, that’s exactly what will happen.

Berube Can Change Maple Leaf Culture

While Maple Leafs fans may not be open to the idea right now, keeping Marner, and the rest of the “four point” tight end, would be the best decision for Treliving to make. In his five seasons in Toronto, Keefe was often criticized for not being hard enough on his top players, which seemed to cause them to not develop that winning mentality. Under Berube, that will be very different.

Related: Maple Leafs Made Mistake By Letting Frederik Andersen Go

Berube is as strong a coach as they come today. He will not tolerate any kind of nonsense or what he sees as unacceptable efforts on the ice, whether it comes in one game of the regular season or Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. He will no doubt annoy the players at times, but eventually, he will get better and appear to be able to unlock more abilities than anyone you know has.

Having a coach who can really push a player and unlock something different in him would be huge for someone like Marner, who by all accounts has world-class talent. If there is anyone you can go to and give him full power in the playoffs, it is Berube.

Leafs Won’t Win Marner Trade

What also puts the Maple Leafs in a difficult position is that they won’t come close to getting the right amount in a Marner trade. His value has dropped significantly right now following his recent playoff struggles, and the fact that he only has one year left on his contract hurts as well. Keeping him around for the final year of his deal to see if Berube can pull off something different would make more sense for the Maple Leafs than sending him to a deal they know will eventually come out.

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