Almost half of the Toronto Maple Leafs playoff roster from 2018-19 is different this post-season.
The Toronto Maple Leafs made the ‘playoffs’ for the fourth consecutive season this year, but only 11 players remain from last years roster.
Even if they defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets, that technically won’t be a First Round victory, as for the first time in NHL history there are Play-In games before the Round of 16 starts.
Although the core is intact year-over-year, it’s crazy to believe that almost half of the roster is different. Typically this many replacement players would mean a number of injuries but at the moment there is only one injury (Andreas Johnsson) that will keep a player from last years team off this years playoff roster.
There are a lot of benefits that come from having a fresh team heading into the playoffs. The best players (Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Mitch Marner, etc.) are back for revenge this post-season, where the fresh faces have no scar tissue from the year before.
Scar tissue can either be good or be really bad.
After losing against Boston in Game 7 in 2018, it felt like that tissue remained as the team couldn’t get past their nemesis losing once again to Boston in their building in 2019.
With every game being played in Toronto, that may give the Leafs a real advantage as they won’t have to worry about a scary Game 7 on the road this post-season.
Let’s look at every player that is new this year, starting with the coaching staff.