Leafs fans found themselves repeatedly asking the same question after many games this season: who are these guys?
On paper the Leafs have an immensely talented roster, which made the results we saw this season all the more alarming and bewildering. It is one thing to be able to chalk up your struggles to a lack of talent, but when that talent is clearly there, it makes it all the more frustrating.
We are a curious species: we gravitate towards trying to make sense of the insensible. But the 2019-20 Leafs are a hard bunch to peg.
Context matters. Let’s do a quick recap of everything that has happened since July 2019:
Fan favourite and valuable cap commodity Nazem Kadri was traded after back-to-back first round suspensions. The trade felt like great value at the time but fans soured on it over time.
Mitch Marner’s contract negotiations became ugly and public, causing damage to his reputation and resulting in a down year (by his standards)
Auston Matthews was charged with disorderly conduct while spending his offseason in Arizona
There was clear dysfunction and disagreement between then-coach Mike Babcock and the front office around player use and tactics
Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation