Trade Deadline additions be damned, the Maple Leafs’ biggest stars need to play like it

Nick Alberga
1 month ago
The trade deadline is overrated.
Contrary to popular belief, what Brad Treliving does or doesn’t do over the next few days is unlikely to change the course of this season —for better or for worse.
Can the roster be bolstered by some worthwhile acquisitions? No question.
Having said all that, those constantly bickering on social media about what Toronto needs and who they should target have lost sight of the true story at play here. Plain and simple, this team will go where the big boys take them.
It was the case after last year’s deadline when Kyle Dubas completed a flurry of deals picking up the likes of Ryan O’Reilly, Luke Schenn, and a boatload of others. Furthermore, it was the story in the Joe Thornton year. When push comes to shove in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it needs to be the money makers who get the job done. To this point, they’ve been unable to. Full stop.
Unfortunately, the mass hysteria and hoopla surrounding the trade deadline has led many down a warped path.
Most important, it’s important to stress that there’s just not much available of significance this year. In theory, that’s probably why the majority of teams have been very patient with their approach this time around.
Seriously, we’re talking about players like Sean Walker, Nick Seeler, and Matt Dumba. What are we doing here?
The way some people reacted to the Ilya Lyubushkin trade last week, you would have thought that Brad Treliving had just dealt Auston Matthews in exchange for a seventh-round pick. The uproar was palpable. The pie charts and bar graphs were out in full force.
At any rate, there’s no true deadline formula. There never has been one —at least in the salary cap era. Ivan Barbashev was last year’s prized pick-up. The year before, it was Artturi Lehkonen going from Montreal to Colorado.
Moving forward, the onus should be firmly on the players once again. If Auston Matthews, William Nylander, and Mitch Marner, among others, can do their thing and produce consistently in the postseason, the Leafs will be in a good position to do some damage. The rest will take care of itself.
All things being equal, it would be foolish to buy into the media induced hype. Marquee additions or not, Toronto’s talented enough to win in the playoffs. After all, year after year, it’s been the offence that has plagued the team in pressure cooker moments. It’s easy to forget that.
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