Maybe it’s finally time for the Maple Leafs to look down to the farm or up to the press box for help.
With the cracks in their defence beginning to look more like canyons, option No. 1 is Jake Gardiner, who has 30 points in 40 games with the AHL Marlies.
Gardiner’s Minnesota-based agent, Ben Hankinson, is one of those wondering what the Leafs have been doing by keeping his client in the minors.
Hankinson tweeted his displeasure with Gardiner's absence from the Leafs lineup following Toronto's 5-2 defeat at Winnipeg Tuesday night, completing their first three-game losing streak of the season.
"#FreeJakeGardiner," Hankinson tweeted before immediately being repeated close to 500 times by NHL enthusiasts.
After appearing 75 times for the Buds a season ago, scoring seven goals and registering 23 assists, the 6-foot-2 defenceman has been called up for just two NHL games this season.
Hankinson's sentiment seemed to be felt by many, as the hockey agent's tweet almost immediately started trending in every NHL city in Canada.
Option No. 2 is veteran John-Michael Liles, who has been a healthy scratch since early last month.
Whatever the case, a smooth-skating puck mover at the back end such as either of these two might be advisable after the Maple Leafs 5-2 defeat at Winnipeg on Tuesday night, their first three-game losing streak of the season.
The Leafs’ recipe for disaster has been a simple one: Too many turnovers, not enough flow.
As blueliner Mark Fraser said during the second intermission: “We are letting them control the game.”
On Thursday, the sizzling Pittsburgh Penguns come back to town. The Pens rallied in the third period on Tuesday to wipe out a 2-0 Boston lead and win 3-2.
It’s time for the Leafs to stop the bleeding. In Gardiner and/or Liles, there is help to attempt to do that.