Toronto's take on the summer

Best way to bring Leafs back to prominence is by adding playmaker

Originally Published: June 15, 2010
By Tom Awad and E.J. Hradek | Puck Prospectus and ESPN The Magazine
Dion PhaneufRichard Wolowicz/Getty ImagesPhaneuf will emerge as the captain in Toronto; he'll need playmakers around them to return the squad to previously-elite levels.

Plugging Holes - Toronto Maple Leafs

The Hole: Playmaker

It is hard to get a good handle on this Maple Leafs team, because half the players weren't on the roster as recently as nine months ago. Early in the season, they needed an elite scorer and acquired one in the form of Phil Kessel. Then they needed a goaltender and got Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Next they acquired a top defenseman in the form of Dion Phaneuf -- who yesterday was named team captain. However, in their roster overhaul they traded away five forwards (Jason Blake, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Lee Stempniak, Niklas Hagman and Matt Stajan), and it's hard to see who, other than Kessel, is a lock for even 40 points. They badly need a playmaker who can help anchor a first line until Nazem Kadri is ready for the job in a couple of years.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.