Death, taxes, and getting angry about the Leafs’ defence.
So we argued: are we okay with the Leafs’ D heading into next season?
First, some short answers:
I’d much rather have things the way they are than give up something to change it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Yeah it’s fine
As long as Babcock doesn’t overuse Hainsey, they’re fine.
And now, some longer ones!
In the overall scheme of things I’m comfortable with the Leafs’ defense because I believe they have an offense so dominant that they’ll control play enough that defense doesn’t really matter. Ideally, they’d build a defense core focused almost entirely on that, as opposed to one that lacks mobility but is good in defensive coverage. Currently, with Lou’s fingerprints still on this defense in the Hainsey acquisition and Zaitsev extension, Dubas is limited in his freedom to rebuild this defense. They’re mostly stuck in limbo until Hainsey’s deal expires and Liljegren is ready for the NHL. At that point, the defense will really take shape. For now though, Babcock will do his best to pretend either Zaitsev or Hainsey are top-pair defenders, and we’ll hope Tavares and Matthews score 50 goals each to make that irrelevant.
I’m not content with the Leafs defence next season. It’s hard to imagine the Leafs directly solving the problem this summer, but I’m confident Dubas won’t make things worse than they already are. Hopefully the shortcomings on the blueline can be masked by the Leafs offence until a proper solution presents itself.
While it doesn’t seem like they did much, losing Polak and replacing him with either Carrick or Holl is already a decent improvement. Obviously it’d be great if they could improve it, but as long as they deploy them right, this defense should be fine with the offense they have and the goaltending from Freddy