Could the Toronto Maple Leafs Have a Short Leash on Brendan Shanahan?

2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One

Toronto Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan will be back for his 10th season with the organization when the team takes the ice for the 2024-25 season. The announcement came as a surprise to some, thinking he was going to moved on.

Shanahan was named president on April 11, 2014 and has kept the title since then. His return to the organization was announced at the season-exit interviews by new Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment CEO Keith Pelley. This announcement did not include the terms of the deal nor did it include the financial details. Shanahan will be coming back but that does not mean he is not on a short leash. He has been widely criticized by the Toronto faithful for his poor decisions in free agency and lack of success in the playoffs.

Shanahan has been through a lot during his Maple Leafs tenure, including firing coaches and signing free agents to poor contracts. During his nine years as Toronto president, he has fired Randy Carlyle, Peter Horachek, MIke Babcock, and Sheldon Keefe as head coaches. Keefe was recently replaced by Craig Berube as the new man behind the bench.

One of the issues that have come over his time has been the lack of playoff success. The Maple Leafs are known as an elite regular season team but they falter in the playoffs. Toronto has won one playoff series in the last 10 years after eight consecutive playoff appearances, that win coming in 2023 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The team is offensively gifted but the defense and goaltending remain issues that have not been solved.

Another factor in questioning Shanahan’s returning has to be the roster. Aside from signing depth players to extreme contracts, the roster now has some questions about the “core four”. Forward Mitch Marner has been rumored to be on the move but nothing has been done as of yet. The Maple Leafs may not be able to keep the core of Auston Matthews, Marner, William Nylander, and John Tavares. Instead, Marner could garner the best return and be the reason why he is always involved in trade talks. With the Maple Leafs needing help between the pipes and on the back end, a potential trade of Marner could garner both of those needs.

It is not known if Shanahan will remain as president after this upcoming season. He does need to revamp this roster and make them a contender from the goaltending position on out in order to go farther than the first round. Changes have to be made in order for them to get out of the first round funk and if not it will be the same result. Those results, if still the same after this season, could find Shanahan in the hot seat and in the last season with the organization. He has a lot of work to do in a short time to make them a threat in the playoffs. Can he turn this around or will this be his last season?

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