The post Are the Maple Leafs Caught Between Identities & Thinking Ahead? appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

According to Brad May, the Toronto Maple Leafs are currently caught between two identities. As a result, they are struggling to win. On one hand, the team is trying to be a high-scoring offensive juggernaut. They’re allowing players like Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner to put up points and carry the team. On the other hand, they are also trying to be a more defensively responsible team. They are emphasizing strong team defense and contributions from players throughout the lineup.

Is There Confusion About the Maple Leafs’ Team Identity?

May suggests that this dual identity has created some confusion for the team and is leading to inconsistencies in their performance. He argues that the Maple Leafs need to decide which identity they want to fully embrace and focus on developing the necessary systems and strategies to support that identity. This will allow the team to play with more confidence and consistency, and ultimately perform at a higher level in the playoffs.

Can Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner carry the Maple Leafs through the playoffs?

Overall, May believes that the Maple Leafs have the talent and potential to be a dominant team in the NHL, but they need to find their true identityto fully to it in order to achieve success.

May believes that the fact that the team is currently playing around .500 hockey suggests that they cannot afford to continue with such inconsistency now or they might not enter the playoffs with their game together.

Former Stanley Cup Champion Brad May Discusses the Maple Leafs Current Play

In the video that follows, Brad May joins the”Real Kyper & Bourne Show” to discuss his notion about the state of the Maple Leafs. The conversation focuses on the possibility that the team is facing an identity crisis as it gears up for the playoffs. The other possibility is that the Maple Leafs are thinking ahead.

Have either of those possibilities led to present-day struggles? You can listen below.

Is It Possible that the New Players Have Moved the Team Off Its Identity?

May hints that the addition of the newcomers – brought in to be “gritty players with a focus on intangibles” – has further muddled the team’s identity. Is the team now trying to balance its offensive firepower with a more defensively-responsible approach?

If that is the case, is the team skating in circles a bit? Has it lost a clear understanding of its identity and style of play? Are the Maple Leafs trying to focus on what the concept of playoff hockey might be? Is focussing on playing “playoff” hockey causing the team to shift from what makes it successful?

Related: Remembering Maple Leafs’ Goalie Jonathan Bernier

At This Point in the Season, the Maple Leafs Are Who They Are

May hints that the addition of new players to the Maple Leafs’ roster won’t solve the team’s postseason issues if it moves the team away from a clear understanding of its style of play and the roles each player should fulfill. New players will bring energy and a different perspective to the team, but the job of the coaching staff is to merge these new players into a cohesive system that maximizes the strengths of the team by adding the value of each new player without disrupting the season’s focus.

For as good as Jake McCabe is, has he reshaped the team?

May also highlights the importance of the regular season. It allows the team to develop chemistry and a system of playing. After six months of hockey, everyone should know each other and understand their collective abilities. If there are still question marks surrounding this team’s identity and the roles each player should play, something needs to be done.

May suggests that there might be a lack of communication or understanding within the organization. If so, that’s not a good sign for a team hoping to find playoff success.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Marner, Samsonov, Woll & Blame

It’s Time to Win Now, Not Look Ahead

May believes that the Maple Leafs need to shift their focus back to the present and on winning games now. It’s not the time to think too far ahead. To win consistently, the team must commit to its own style of play.

Is this William Nylander’s Maple Leafs?

As far as winning now, May sees the upcoming road games as a tough test. However, he suggests that might be exactly what this team needs. Playing tough games would help them refocus and get back on track. Such games can bring out the best in a team, because it plays at a higher level. They will need to compete if they are to win.

Related: 3 Takeaways from Maple Leafs 7-2 Beat Down by the Islanders

May Seems to Believe in This Maple Leafs’ Team

Overall, May is optimistic this Maple Leafs team has the potential to win. He thinks the team can find success in the playoffs. But, he believes the team should fully commit to the identity it’s developed over the regular season. 

Related: You Gotta Love ex-Maple Leafs’ Goalie Jack Campbell

The post Are the Maple Leafs Caught Between Identities & Thinking Ahead? appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

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