The Toronto Maple Leafs already begun strategizing how next season's team will look like, and depending on where they select in this June's NHL Draft, it could accelerate their plan.
The Leafs are not expected to re-sign the likes of pending unrestricted free agent forwards Michael Grabner and Brad Boyes this off-season, and will turn their attention strengthening their roster.
Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock told the media following Saturday night's 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres that the team will focus on getting tougher for the 2016-17 campaign.
"We're going to look after that in the off-season, I can promise you that," Babcock said.
The Leafs currently sit last in the NHL and if they remain in 30th place by the
end of the regular-season, they will have the best odds, albeit only 20 per
cent, of drafting first in this year's NHL Draft.
If the Leafs select first-overall and choose Auston Matthews, it could move up
the team's rebuilding plan.
Young forwards William Nylander, Nikita Soshnikov, Josh Leivo, Zach Hyman and
Connor Brown are among some of the team's future talent to get a taste of the
NHL this season, which is helping the coaching and management staffs in
determining how to approach next season's roster.
"I think it's coming every day," Nylander said, in reference to becoming more
and more comfortable at the NHL level. "You start to find certain areas of the
ice where you can make certain plays. It's coming and it's getting there."
While Toronto's roster is expected to remain young next season, the team will
look to add some veteran leadership, presumably in the form of more physical,
The Leafs are also expected to remain active on the trade front this off-season,
with the likes of forwards Joffrey Lupul, Peter Holland and Milan Michalek