by Jordan Vasquez
“The challenge in Toronto is not coming up with the plan but sticking to the plan. That is the hard part. Our vision is to draft and develop our own players. I think every decision we make has to be about building a winning organization that can sustain itself year after year after year through the draft. This has to be once and for all a build that we are committed to and don't stray from,” said Toronto President Brendan Shanahan regarding the Maple Leafs' rebuilding plan and his vision for the future. This is the vision that the President of the Toronto Maple Leafs have for its upcoming season.
After a tough , Shanahan had several points to clear up, meaning that the changes that were made were necessary and that there are plenty more changes to come. The president then continues to talk about when he was hired. He says, “When I was interviewed for this job by (MLSE CEO) Tim Leiweke a year ago, the one thing I had said to him was the only real reason to come here and do this is if we are committed to building a team that is committed to winning a Stanley Cup,” Shanahan said. “With that in mind, as the season wore on, we realized that difficult decisions were going to have to be made at the conclusion of the season.” This started a major job loss for many people who worked for the Maple Leafs. For example, the team’s general manager and head coaching positions were let go.
This season saw a remarkable amount of emotion from fans toward the Maple Leafs. Much of it was a direct reaction to the swoon the team went through as the season shifted one of its lowest points in recent memory. Due to the management of the team being lost , a lot of players know their future in Toronto remains uncertain at best. “After what’s happened here over the last several years I think that has to include everybody,” Shanahan said to his players, “And that’s not to say we don’t have talented individuals and that some of them won’t be coming back. But they understand and everybody understands and I think the fans understand and I think the fans demand that this has to change as well.” (Shanahan)
The Leafs’ assistant General Manager, Kyle Dubas and Director of Player Personnel Mark Hunter are going to act as co-interim GM’s until a replacement is or named. Hunter will also control this year’s draft and the scouts who were relieved of their duties will fall under Hunter’s direction. Hunter says, “ It’s going to be a lighter and leaner scouting team moving forward.” The toughest part moving forward will be avoiding the same temptation that others before Shanahan had a difficult time handling.
The Toronto Maple Leafs plans change, the vision doesn’t change. The idea changes because it is a sport and people change. When people question the plan that will be going on in Toronto, they often say that they have learned over the past several months, that the plan is not some unique secret plan. The challenge in Toronto is not to come up with “the plan” , the challenge in Toronto is to stick to the plan and this will be the hardest part for the team for the new season.