For the sixth year in a row, the Toronto Maple Leafs fall victim to a first-round exit. The result is a bit different than in years prior, as the Leafs took the Tampa Bay Lightning to the very end losing by one goal in Game 7. The Leafs still have decisions to make this offseason regarding whether this is the group that can eventually get over the hump of first-round exits, but they may have convinced management to give them another season to prove themselves after going the distance with the defending two-time champions.
John Tavares, the former captain of the Islanders, is now leading the Leafs with the 'C' on his chest. In seven games before being eliminated from the playoffs, Tavares tallied three goals and three assists. In Game 7, he had a goal called back which would have eventually sent the game to overtime had it counted.
Despite a crucial goal being called back, Tavares has been the subject of scrutiny as many believe he should be providing more for the Leafs in the playoffs as an $11 million per year player.
"While he’s been great in winning face-offs (71 per cent) and has some progress from a defensive standpoint, his inability to generate much offence through four games against the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions is becoming a problem."- David Alter, LeafsNation.com