Evaluating a Decade of the Shanahan Plan: Toronto Maple Leafs' Quest for Postseason Glory

February 6, 2024

Reflecting on Brendan Shanahan's decade-long tenure as the president of the Toronto Maple Leafs, questions arise about the team's accomplishments during this period. In this analysis, we'll examine the progression of the Shanahan plan, from breaking the first-round curse to the current roster dynamics, evaluating the team's overall success in both regular and postseason play.

One notable achievement under Shanahan's leadership is the breaking of the curse of first-round exits. This milestone, considered by some as even more significant than a Stanley Cup victory, is highlighted on Shanahan's plaque. The relief from the first-round exit bubble has become a defining moment in recent Leafs history, showcasing the team's ability to overcome a longstanding challenge.

Shanahan took the helm in 2015, initiating what is now known as the Shanahan plan. Over the years, the team underwent transitions, with notable figures like Lou Lamoriello, Kyle Dubas, and Brad Treliving taking the reins. As we approach the 10-year mark, it prompts an evaluation of the plan's effectiveness in translating big-name player acquisitions into postseason success.

Despite amassing a roster filled with marquee players, the Maple Leafs have seen success primarily in the regular season. The team's impressive record in standard play contrasts starkly with a lack of significant achievements in the playoffs. The absence of deep postseason runs prompts scrutiny and raises questions about the overall effectiveness of the strategic approach employed during the Shanahan era.

It's essential to approach this evaluation with a neutral perspective. While the Leafs have broken significant barriers, the postseason narrative remains a work in progress. The focus should extend beyond individual seasons and player acquisitions to assess the sustainability and long-term impact of the Shanahan plan on the team's competitive standing in the NHL.

As the Toronto Maple Leafs approach the 10-year mark of the Shanahan plan, the journey has been marked by both triumphs and challenges. Breaking the first-round curse stands as a monumental achievement, but the quest for sustained playoff success continues to elude the team. The next phase of the Shanahan plan must address the delicate balance between regular season dominance and postseason triumphs, ensuring a comprehensive strategy that delivers on the high expectations set for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the competitive landscape of professional hockey.