Death. Taxes. The Toronto Maple Leafs losing a Game 7 to the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Despite the additions of John Tavares and Jake Muzzin, the Maple Leafs still shook under the pressure of closing out the Bruins, even when holding a 3-2 series lead. If anything changed whatever momentum Toronto had, it was the absence of Nazem Kadri.
Just like last season, Kadri was handed a lengthy suspension for dishing out a retaliatory hit. In 2018, Kadri delivered a nasty hit to the head of Tommy Wingels. This year, Kadri utilized a cross-check to the face of Jake DeBrusk, after the Bruins winger hit Patrick Marleau into Toronto's bench.
As a result of being a repeat offender, Kadri was suspended for the remainder of the first round. For the Leafs, that meant their enforcer was gone.
The Leafs needed a big body who can tire out the opposition. Yet, with Kadri gone, Boston imposed their will on the young speedsters, like Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.
Now after another early exit from the playoffs, the Maple Leafs have a decision to make. Kadri is not set to hit free agency until 2022, meaning a trade would be his only way out of Toronto. While yes, it's hard to find an enforcer in this day and age of the NHL, Kadri has proved himself to be unreliable when the team needs him most.
this is the second thing that comes to mind when i think of what is holding Toronto back vs. Boston— Mike Darnay (@MikeDarnay) April 24, 2019
the first is Nazem Kadri being a selfish idiot year in and year out https://t.co/XdmWeyXbkR
How can you count on someone who has been reckless on the ice, and as a result, cost Toronto a chance of making a deep run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs? You can't.
It's time for the Maple Leafs to move on.