Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Berube as Saviour & Hyman’s Postseason

Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Berube as Saviour & Hyman’s Postseason

Although the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ new coach, Craig Berube, has made everything look rosy, several questions remain about the team’s direction and future success. Additionally, is the Maple Leafs organization truly as bottom-line-oriented as fans believe? Many argue that Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the corporation that owns the team, is more interested in profits than wins. However, the organization has paid hefty sums to former coaches Sheldon Keefe and Mike Babcock not to coach. Does this indicate a genuine commitment to success? How can it be merely a financial strategy?

Then there’s the hype around Berube. While he is credited with leading the St. Louis Blues from last place to a Stanley Cup victory in 2019, he was recently fired after two consecutive seasons without playoff appearances. Can he truly bring the positive changes the Maple Leafs need, or will the initial excitement wear off after a losing streak? Is Berube as good as people say, or is it too soon to anoint him as the team’s saviour?

Finally, in this edition of Maple Leafs news and rumors, we’ll review former Maple Leafs player Zach Hyman and his incredible postseasonwith the Edmonton Oilers. Hyman has been on fire, showing the skills and determination that made him a fan favourite in Toronto. His success raises questions about the Maple Leafs’ decision-making and ability to develop and retain top talent.

Item One: Is Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Only Interested in the Bottom Line?

To those who argue that Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) is indifferent to the team’s success because they generate millions in profit regardless of performance, let’s consider the evidence. MLSE is paying Keefe at least $2 million annually for the next two years not to coach the team. Before Keefe, they paid Babcock $5 million a year under similar circumstances. Does this sound like an organization that doesn’t care about team success?

Keefe’s emotional farewell video also suggests how much he cared to do well and how much people within the organization strove for success. He looked deeply thankful as well as deeply sad over his dismissal. If it were simply about the money, he might be more focused on enjoying his new-found free time and the millions of dollars in his pocket. Moreover, given his track record and reputation, Keefe will likely find that multiple teams will compete for his services when he returns to coaching.

So, does MLSE care only about the bottom line, or are they making significant investments to ensure the Maple Leafs’ success? The substantial payouts to former coaches suggest a commitment to finding the right leadership to propel the team forward, even at a considerable financial cost.

Item Two: Is Berube As Good as Fans Think?

Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs have a new coach, Craig Berube. As usual, the Toronto media has anointed him as the latest saviour of the team. After all, he took a St. Louis Blues team last at the midpoint of the season to the Stanley Cup in 2019. However, they often overlook that the Blues fired him after failing to make the playoffs for the past two years, replacing him with Drew Bannister, who had never coached a single game in the NHL before.

It’s not that Berube is a lousy coach. He’s likely an excellent coach. He’ll appeal to “old school” types who like his hard-nosed approach to the game. But to anoint him as a saviour is a bit premature. All it will take for that idea to go away is a four- or five-game losing streak, especially if it happens in October. Let’s wait and have this conversation at the end of May 2025.

Two adages come to mind when considering the Maple Leafs’ present situation. Brendan Shanahan and Brad Treliving used one at their most recent news conference: “Everything is on the table.” The other adage is, “It is easier to replace the coach than to replace the team.”

Item Three: Ex-Maple Leaf Zach Hyman Having an Amazing Postseason

Former Maple Leafs player Zach Hyman has been a revelation for the Oilers this postseason, showing his elite scoring ability and versatility. He has seamlessly transitioned into a crucial role for the Oilers, proving an indispensable part of their playoff success.

Hyman’s standout performance began in the series against the Los Angeles Kings, where he opened the playoffs with a hat trick and an assist in a 7-4 victory. His chemistry with Connor McDavid was evident as he dominated the ice, contributing offensively and with his physical play. This strong start set the tone for his postseason, significantly highlighting his ability to lead and influence games.

Continuing his impressive run, Hyman scored pivotal goals and made critical plays throughout the series against the Kings and the Vancouver Canucks. His two-goal performance in Game 1 against the Canucks and the game-winning goal in Game 6 illustrates his clutch-scoring ability. Despite facing tough competition, he has consistently delivered. He’s been a standout player in the playoffs. This remarkable postseason performance underscores his value and the significant impact he has had since leaving the Maple Leafs.

What’s Next for the Maple Leafs?

This is going to be a busy offseason for the Maple Leafs. Many changes are on the horizon, and some are good. The influx of good young players is positive in several ways. First, it eases the pressure on the salary cap; and, second, it encourages other prospects in the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Toronto Marlies.

There will undoubtedly be significant interest in the possible contract extensions of John Tavares and Mitch Marner. Tavares is playing lights out internationally with Team Canada at the World Championship. What will happen with Marner and Tavares this offseason could be pivotal for the team’s future.

As the Maple Leafs engage in making these changes, fans and analysts will watch closely to see how these moves shape the roster and the team’s prospects for success in the coming seasons.

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