The Maple Leafs' "Big 4" should be dismantled, according to a former NHL GM

Published June 20, 2021 at 10:19

The Toronto Maple Leafs have some difficult decisions to make this summer, and although some of those decisions may seem apparent, not everyone agrees. The reality is that the Maple Leafs have made a significant investment in their 'Big 4' forwards, Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitchell Marner, and William Nylander, and while the popular belief is that the Leafs will continue to move forward with that group intact, some believe that the group must be dismantled before the Leafs can be successful.

On a recent podcast, former NHL general manager Doug MacLean made it clear which way he thinks the wind is blowing, or should be blowing, when he called on the Leafs to dismantle that group of four players in order to make the moves he believes are required for the Leafs to become serious playoff contenders.

«People say 'well they are not gonna break up their big four' well I'm telling you, before I lose Hyman, you better do some serious soul searching as to how your team is gonna perform at playoff time," said MacLean on Kyper at Noon. "Because he is one guy that brings it."

Of course, MacLean was talking to prospective unrestricted free agency forward Zach Hyman, who is a heart and soul player in a locker room that doesn't appear to have many of them. It was evident from MacLean's comments that retaining Hyman on the Maple Leafs roster should be a key priority, and he even suggested that he would be prepared to move one of the aforementioned Big 4 if it meant keeping Hyman on the team.

"I would break up the Big 4 to get Hyman signed and to add another defenseman that they desperately need," said MacLean. "I said going into the playoffs that they weren't deep enough on the blue line, I didn't like their blue line. I love Morgan Reilly, (Jake) Muzzin gets hurt too often for me but I love him, Holl is fine, but that blue line wasn't good enough to play at playoff time, sorry. Something's gotta give to improve their team."

"I hate to move Marner. I know Nylander was great in the playoffs, I know he played great but he's still the guy for me," said MacLean. "It's going to be him or Marner, something's gotta give in this Big 4. They can't move Tavares, and there's not a snowball's chance they are gonna move Matthews because he's too good."

«Tavares was kind of the wrench in all of this I think," said Kypreos. "Tavares is a nice player but they didn't need him at 11 million bucks."

"My god, look at the Islanders," said MacLean. "They lose their franchise player and they are a better team. Oh my god."

Credit: HockeyFeed
June 20   |   153 answers
The Maple Leafs' "Big 4" should be dismantled, according to a former NHL GM

Do you agree with Doug?

Yes9058.8 %
No6341.2 %
Latest 10 stories