The Toronto Maple Leafs held a wide-ranging media availability today, where players and management both expressed their frustration with how the season ended. The Maple Leafs once again failed to win a postseason series, extending a drought that is now up to 15 years. In his part of the availability however, team president Brendan Shanahan told reporters including Kristen Shilton of TSN that he still believed in the people running the program:
I have complete faith in Kyle (Dubas) as a general manager, in Sheldon (Keefe) as a coach and complete confidence in what we’re going to do here in Toronto.
Dubas, who has been on the job since taking over from Lou Lamoriello in 2018, stuck up for several of his players including Mitch Marner, whose criticism from fans over the last few days he called “idiotic.” The Maple Leafs now enter the offseason with a huge chunk of their salary cap tied up in their star forwards and lots of need to improve other areas.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t get much of the same defense from their general manager yesterday when Jim Rutherford said changes would have to be made. Josh Yohe of The Athletic (subscription required) released his annual examination of which roster players could be the target of Rutherford’s wrath and on their way out this summer. While Justin Schultz—a specific target of Rutherford yesterday—finds himself in the “So Long, Farewell” tier, so does Nick Bjugstad who just a few years ago was a 20-goal scorer with plenty of promise. Bjugstad recorded just one goal and two points in 13 games for the Penguins this season.
- The New York Rangers aren’t expected to carry three goalies next season and that could mean an end to Henrik Lundqvist’s run with the franchise. That won’t be done without speaking to him first, however, as according to Dan Rosen of NHL.com team president John Davidson already had a “personal discussion” with the legendary goaltender after getting off the plane ride home. Lundqvist has always been loyal to the Rangers, but has another year with an $8.5MM cap hit and has already relinquished the starting role to Igor Shesterkin.