The post 3 Looming Questions as the Maple Leafs Enter the Playoffs appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

As the Toronto Maple Leafs gear up for the postseason, several key questions before the playoffs remain unanswered. The team faces critical decisions regarding player health, lineup choices, and overall playoff readiness. These three pressing questions and their answers could impact the Maple Leafs’ playoff success.

Related: Mistakes Cost Maple Leafs a Win Over the Devils

Question One: Should Matthews Rest or Go for 70 Goals?

Auston Matthews is on the cusp of a historic milestone, having tied Mario Lemieux‘s 69-goal season record. The question is whether Matthews should push for 70 goals in the remaining regular-season games or prioritize rest ahead of the playoffs. Resting Matthews could ensure he enters the postseason in peak condition, but chasing records might also keep him sharp and motivated. The coaching staff must carefully weigh the risks and rewards of Matthews’ pursuit of this landmark achievement.

Auston Matthews Maple Leafs 70-goal quest

Matthews’ pursuit of the 70-goal milestone also adds an intriguing subplot to the Maple Leafs’ final regular-season games. While achieving this feat would be historic, the coaching staff must balance Matthews’ achievement with other factors. For example, does it motivate the entire team to help them push for their teammate? Would setting the record benefit everyone’s determination? Ultimately, there might be more than simply assessing Matthews’ physical condition. How historic is this 70-goal mark? If it isn’t, Matthews should be rested as a way to be ready for a solid playoff performance.

Question Two: Is Ilya Samsonov Worrisome in the Crease or Not?

Ilya Samsonov‘s recent performances have raised concerns among Toronto fans and (likely) the coaching staff. Despite making key saves last night in the team’s loss to the Detroit Red Wings, Samsonov has allowed too many goals over the past few games. That fact prompts questions about his consistency and readiness for playoff hockey. The decision to start Samsonov or explore other goaltending options for the remaining regular-season games could have implications for the Maple Leafs’ goaltending strategy heading into the playoffs.

While Samsonov has shown the ability to make critical saves, one key question is the team’s play in front of him. They laid an egg in the first period last night. That, in effect, poses just as big a challenge for the coaching staff as Samsonov’s abilities. Is there even a point in evaluating Samsonov’s performance over the remaining regular-season games? Is it his fault at all? And, is it even an essential question in determining the Maple Leafs’ goaltending strategy for the playoffs? Perhaps it’s time to give Joseph Woll and Martin Jones a couple of starts as the season winds down.

Question Three: Should Nick Robertson Be in the Game One Lineup for the Playoffs?

Nick Robertson has shown his scoring ability whenever given the opportunity, which makes a convincing case for his inclusion in the playoff lineup. His offensive contributions could provide a valuable spark, especially in high-stakes playoff games. The coaching staff must assess Robertson’s fit within the team’s playoff strategy, considering factors such as lineup depth, defensive responsibility, and overall impact on team success.

Nick Robertson Toronto Maple Leafs

Robertson’s ability to generate scoring opportunities and capitalize on key moments would benefit the Maple Leafs’ secondary scoring. That said, the coaching staff must also assess who else might be injured. For example, how badly is Bobby McMann hurt? McMann brings a solid physical aspect to the lineup and is an option on the penalty kill. Yet, Robertson’s recent performance and potential impact on playoff scoring should influence the coaching staff’s decision-making process as the team prepares for postseason action.

The Bottom Line for the Maple Leafs

In conclusion, the Maple Leafs’ approach to these critical questions will shape their playoff trajectory and determine their readiness for postseason success. Balancing individual milestones, goaltending consistency, and lineup dynamics will be key factors in optimizing the team’s performance as they embark on their playoff journey.

Related: Maple Leafs Sign D-Man Cade Webber: What Should Fans Know?

The post 3 Looming Questions as the Maple Leafs Enter the Playoffs appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

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