I just finished listening to episode 246 and I cannot except no explanation other than “the gods willed it” as a reason for the Toa not being frozen with the rest of the island. With that in mind, I propose that the Toa had already been manifested, but were saved from the power of the Mask of Time by Toa canisters.
Now, here’s the full pitch. The story should start with the Toa emerging from their canisters with several frozen Matoran gathered around. They have a gap in their memories as to how they entered and, over the course of the year, they learn what caused the island to freeze and how they entered the canisters (I propose they were stored in them to heal injuries from a previous battle with the Rahkshi, where the new Toa were over-powered by their foes). This would give the story the feeling that Eljay mentioned the Golden Years had of a mystery that had to be solved (except this would be resolved in the first half, I would imagine).
Am I crazy? Am I grasping at straws? You tell me