Mарle Leаfs Rаnk аs 8tһ-Most Imрroved Teаm іn NHL on Tһe Atһletіс’s Lіst Desріte Mіnіmаl Moves

On top of bringing back Max Domi and Timothy Liljegren, the Leafs’ most notable additions have been Chris Tanev, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and Anthony Stolarz in NHL free agency.

Maple Leafs Rank as 8th-Most Improved Team in NHL on The Athletic's List  Despite Minimal Moves - The Hockey News Toronto Maple Leafs News, Analysis  and More

Despite making minimal moves, the Toronto Maple Leafs have still addressed their biggest holes found on the blueline and in the crease. While the club brought back forward Max Domi on a four-year, $15 million contract, and re-signed defenseman Timothy Liljegren on a two-year, $6 million contract, their most notable additions were made on the opening day of NHL free agency. 

Headlined by Chris Tanev, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and Anthony Stolarz, these are key moves that have strengthened the Leafs’ lineup in areas needing the most assistance. In a piece written by Dom Luszczyszyn of The Athletic, though minimal, the Leafs “Look better, and that closes the gap between them and the league’s best considerably”.

Out of the 32 NHL teams, Luszczyszyn has the Leafs ranked 8th with a Net Rating added of +14 – which provides a more comprehensive view of a player's impact beyond traditional statistics and is used to measure a player's overall impact on their team's performance. The ranking focuses primarily on external changes to the roster while balancing out key additions compared to key departures.

When compared to other ‘contenders’ on the list, such as the Vegas Golden Knights (31), Dallas Stars (30), Florida Panthers (29), and the Carolina Hurricanes (28), each club’s roster deteriorated (on paper) in one way or another. However, one could argue though the Leafs’ amount of transactions was minute thus far, the impact of each acquisition is immense – and poised to become invaluable upgrades.

Still, early into the offseason, it will be interesting to see how the coming months shake out for the Maple Leafs. The club is destined to still be in ‘add mode’, specifically to their offensive prowess, and may have to get creative to do so given the cap constraints they face nearly two weeks into July. Regardless, the team looks better equipped to compete with the league’s top contenders, many of whom have seemingly taken steps back ahead of the 2024-25 season.