The Toronto Maple Leafs have finally lifted their first-round curse – but the season still ends in a big disappointment and some are wondering what lies ahead now.

It turned out the chants of “We want Florida” did not age for the fans of the Original Six franchise.

Because the Leafs after winning their first playoff series this year since 2004, are going home.

The Florida Panthers, which barely squeaked into the playoffs, routed the Leafs in five games and will move on to the Eastern Conference finals to face the Carolina Hurricanes.

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And it’s a major disappointment when you look at the team that’s loaded with talent from Mitch Marner to Auston Matthews.

In fact, it’s been loaded with talent since the 2016-2017 season when everyone around the league praised the Leafs and were excited about what Leafs’ future held.

However, the Leafs aren’t the new kids on the street anymore. The young stars aren’t teenagers. Matthews is 25 and Marner is 26.

This Leaf’s core only has one playoff victory in the seven years the team has been together.

It was supposed to be the turning point when the team signed star center John Tavares to a seven-year, $77 million. But instead, it’s been more of the same.

The biggest question mark is around general manager Kyle Dubas, who is completing the last year of his contract.

Will the Leafs bring him back or does he want to come back?

If he is back, will Dubas make changes?

If Dubas does return then he needs to consider firing head coach Sheldon Keefe, who was out-coached for the most part against the Panthers.

It’s not all on Keefe. He did get a solid performance out of his top players – but the depth of the team was just not good enough.

That includes defenseman Mark Giordano and center David Kampf, who both were the Leafs’ two worst players in expected goals (XGF) against the Panthers.

So Dubas or whoever is the next GM of the Leafs will need to make tough decisions going into the offseason on Keefe’s job status and changing the makeup of the roster.

But it’s also important for the Leafs not to overreact and trade a core player like Marner for draft picks without coming up with a comparable or better replacement.

The Leafs need to turn into a legit Stanley Cup contender.

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