What's Next for the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Mike WatkinsContributor IJanuary 13, 2008

Just when you thought the season couldn't get any worse, the Leafs go on their road trip to California, get badly outplayed in every game by the defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks, the last place Los Angeles Kings, and the San Jose Sharks.

So, Leafs fans out there might be asking, 'What's next?' Well, all I can tell you is things need to change drastically within the organization, and fast.

You hear talk about general manager John Ferguson Jr. and coach Paul Maurice (pictured) getting fired, but that's not all that needs to be shaken up. The Leafs need to replace some of the upper management. CEO Richard Peddie is likely the cause of this whole mess.

If anyone watched the interview CBC's Ron MacLean had with Detroit's senior adviser, Scotty Bowman, you would realize how much harm Peddie is causing for the team. Bowman stated last night that in the summer when the two sides had talked, he thought it was all going well after he had talked to Larry Tanenbaum. He then had a meeting about a week later with Richard Peddie. With about three weeks to go until training camp opened, Peddie called Bowman and told him that they weren't interested in his services, and that they would go into the season with the management they have.

Is that actually it, or did Peddie not want to give up the majority of the control to Scott?

Now let's talk about the team on the ice. The club's record is 16-21-8. Well, obviously that doesn't look too pleasing to the fans. Seeing such a big hockey market so low in the standings like that although the Leafs are only seven points out of a playoff spot, sitting in 14th in the Eastern Conference.

So again we ask the question, 'What's next?' Should they start blowing up the team and start the rebuilding stage or should they acquire some key veterans and try and get into the playoffs, ruining the future of the club while they're at it?

Where they are sitting right now, having missed the playoffs three straight years after the lockout, it is probably time to start rebuilding. Trade away players like Mats Sundin(if he's willing to waive his no-trade clause), Darcy Tucker, Pavel Kubina, Jason Blake and others for draft picks and young prospects. Sundin would get the team one great package deal and there is still the chance that he comes back in the summer as an unrestricted free agent. That would be the smart thing to do, but under the current management, it might just be wishful thinking.

Some things need to change around the Air Canada Centre, and quickly. With the recent California road trip debacle, you might see things happen within the organization sooner than later.