Boston Bruins & Toronto Maple Leafs each facing franchise-altering Game 7

Saturday night's Game 7 will have long-lasting effects for both the Bruins and Maple Leafs.
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Six
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Six / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

Two Original Six teams. Two teams with passionate fanbases. Two teams looking to exercise past playoff failures. It’s safe to say that Saturday night’s Game 7 in the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs will be franchise-altering for the Boston Bruins or Toronto Maple Leafs.

There are so many storylines on both sides entering the game, but one team will skate off the TD Garden late Saturday night going to the second round to play the Florida Panthers, while the other will begin a very long offseason that will likely see a massive amount of changes.

Boston Bruins & Toronto Maple Leafs face huge Game 7

There is a lot on the line for both teams. Jobs and roster construction going into the 2024-25 season are just two things that could create massive changes in either city or the organizations.

For the Bruins, GM Don Sweeney is facing maybe his biggest offseason in Boston’s front office with the number of players who have their contracts expire, as well as the amount of cap space he’s going to have available to him. Who does he re-sign? Who does he target in free agency? How does he build his next roster to contend as there are sure to be some big changes?

Does Sweeney look to shake up the roster and trade away some players who are under contract for next season and beyond? He just might have to. Then there is the question about head coach Jim Montgomery. How could he possibly survive a second straight postseason where his team holds a commanding 3-1 series lead in the opening round only to lose six consecutive close-out games?

For Toronto, a loss in Boston would be more massive heartbreak for the organization and fanbase against the Bruins. Would that mean the end of the core four (Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and William Nylander)? Some believe so. GM Brad Trevling will be facing some of the same tough decisions as Sweeney would should Boston lose.

Of course, like Montgomery, Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe is also likely coaching for his job in Game 7. Last season he led the Maple Leafs to a first-round series win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, but more postseason failure in the first round, especially to the Bruins won’t sit well with the fanbase.

There is no doubt that there are jobs and potential huge roster decisions on the line Saturday night for the losing team and things could very well look a lot different when training camp begins in September for either the Bruins or Maple Leafs.