Toronto Is Ready To Feast On The East
In the sports world (especially today) one man is no longer enough to bring post-season success to a franchise, in fact its not even close to having enough anymore. Specifically I’m talking about the current state of the NHL - don’t even get me started on the NBA. Take a look at the previous Stanley Cup winners in the last few years.
Starting with this years winners, Washington. With them, you can see a top tier offence being run by some of the most dangerous players in the league: Ovechkin, Backstrom and Kuznetsov.
Look at Pittsburhgh. Not only did they win two straight Cups in recent history but they’ve been perennial contenders for a decade now. A huge part of this team is Mr. Evgani Malkin. The guy has been a tremendous part of Pittsburgh’s success over his career and I honestly don’t see them being half as successful with him out of the picture. Let’s be real here, you take away Crosby and Malkin is a #1 centre on this team and just about any team in the league. I wouldn’t be surprised if teams out there would be willing break the bank in order to secure a guy of his stature. Fortunately for the Penguins, he chose to stay. Both Malkin & Crosby took small pay cuts to keep this team together and ensure their legacy in the league.
Now your probably wondering “Evan, what do the penguins and their two franchise centres have to do with John Tavares & Auston Matthews?” And to that I say championships! The leafs have finally got their hands on two franchise centres who are talented & young enough to help forge a dynasty in the 6ix. A big problem that a lot of talented rookies face when entering their respective leagues is the pressure to elevate the team to the next level without a proper supporting cast to help them do that. The addition of John Tavares to the leafs will allow Matthews to further develop his game to its fullest potential while minimizing the criticism that the best player on a contending team usually face. On a game to game basis Matthews won’t have to worry about competing with the best centres in league which will allow him to dominate guys on the second line, this will help build his confidence as a player as well as creating a bit of motivation to prove he deserves to be Toronto’s 1st line centre.
With Tavares coming off his best statistical season so far in his career, he is just the right guy to guide a young Auston Matthews and turn him into a bona fide star (if he isn’t already). It isn’t totally crazy to think that the Leafs will have two players with 35+ or even 40+ goals this season. If this team can gel and make this work, this season will be the most exciting in Leafs history. These guys are ready and the off season moves have shown that.
Eastern conference, watch out.