Leafs cuts prove patience a prime part of Toronto’s long-term plan
If Toronto Maple Leafs fans were hoping a rebuild would mean a better chance of seeing the team's prime prospects enjoy NHL time this season, they were sorely mistaken. The Leafs cut a slew of prospects over the weekend, a list which included fan favorites William Nylander, Connor Brown, Kasperi Kapanen and Zach Hyman.
The moves are a sign that this new front office group will not try to take shortcuts to success, instead allowing young players to see more frequent ice time by developing in the minors before advancing to the NHL.
“At this time the right thing is for them to go and be the best possible players they can be,” GM Lou Lamoriello said to reporters on a conference call Sunday. “There's going to be an excellent team there (in the American Hockey League). … They could be here before you know it or it could be some time.”
Nylander, the eighth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, recorded 32 points in 37 games with the AHL Toronto Marlies last season. Kapanen, a Finnish forward whom the Leafs landed in the Phil Kessel trade with Pittsburgh, has just four games in North America on his professional resume and clearly needs time to adjust to playing on a new continent.