Toronto shocked the league when they made the playoffs for the second time since 2004. But for the 2016-2017 season, they know that the expectations have been raised a couple notches.
“Only 16 teams make it and it’s not going to be easy,” Toronto’s Auston Matthews said, according to the Toronto Sun’s Lance Hornby.
Matthews and the Leafs are determined to prove that they indeed belong in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and that last season wasn’t a fluke.
“We surprised some teams last year. That doesn’t really matter now. It’s a new season, they’re going to know that we have some firepower and they’re not going to take us so lightly.”
Toronto added Patrick Marleau in free agency, which will certainly bring some added depth to the roster.
“He‘s played 19 years, he’s been in the Stanley Cup finals, he knows how to win,” Matthews explained.
“When I talked to him he was pretty excited to be here.”
“All three of those guys we picked up are veterans who can definitely help us now, as a young team. They’re guys who’ve been there. Ron Hainsey won a Cup last year (in Pittsburgh), Dominic Moore is a Toronto native and been in the league a while.”
But Matthews said that Toronto’s goals, like his, are crystal clear.
“As an individual and as a team, we all want to take a step forward this season.”
Devils’ Jesper Bratt Out 2-3 Weeks
New Jersey Devils forward Jesper Bratt will be out 2-3 weeks with a broken jaw.
Bratt, 20, was injured Thursday when he was hit in the face by a puck that was shot from the point and deflected off the crossbar.
“It was just a freak accident after practice; he was in the corner and there was a shot that went to the net and it hit the crossbar and inadvertently hit him,” Devils head coach John Hynes said (h/t NHL.com). “He has a fracture and no surgery is needed, so that’s good news. He should be able to continue his physical activity over the course of that time and he’ll be back ready to go when that time comes.”
“It stinks because he’s had a great training camp,” Devils forward Travis Zajac said. “He was playing better than how he started last year, but he’ll get a chance to come back even stronger. It’s one of those things as a young guy you just have to take in stride, not let it bother you, and just make sure you’re prepared to contribute when you do come back.”
“I met up with him right away after practice Thursday, and you feel so bad for him,” New Jersey forward Marcus Johansson stated. “This is once-in-a-lifetime thing to play an NHL game in Sweden and having family and friends here. He was playing really well, too, and working hard all summer.
“It’s not a fun situation and he’s not happy right now, but he’s a young kid and he has a lot of hockey ahead of him so you don’t want to risk anything by coming back too soon.”
Panthers’ Derek MacKenzie Retiring at End of Season
Florida Panthers forward Derek MacKenzi will be calling it a career at the end of the 2018-2019 season, according to The Athletic’s George Richards.
MacKenzie, 37, is entering his 18th season and 5th with Florida and stated that he would like to stay involved with the organization when his retirement becomes official.
Islanders Name Anders Lee Captain
The New York Islanders have officially named Anders Lee team captain, who will don the “C” after the departure of former team captain John Tavares during free agency, per an official team announcement.
Lee, 28, is coming off a career year which saw him collect 40 goals.
Josh Bailey, Cal Clutterbuck, and Andrew Ladd will serve as the team’s alternate captains.
- Devils’ Jesper Bratt Out 2-3 Weeks
- Flames’ Travis Hamonic Suffers Facial Fracture During Fight
- Panthers’ Derek MacKenzie Retiring at End of Season
- Islanders Name Anders Lee Captain
- Leafs’ William Nylander On Contract Talks: “I Have to take care of Myself”
- Sharks’ Erik Karlsson Feels Senators Would Have Traded Him Even If He Signed New Contract
- Capitals’ Tom Wilson Suspended 20 Games
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