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.”