The Toronto Maple Leafs thought they had solved their problems this past season when they finally won a playoff series, but a stomping second round exit at the hands of the Florida Panthers has lead to changes in the offseason.
The Maple Leafs are once again trying to get to the Stanley Cup. Despite the change at general manager, Sheldon Keefe is still head coach of this team and the core four are still all in Leafs uniforms.
So, heading into the new season, their is a lot of pressure on this team to get something done. Today, let’s talk about a set of players that can really make or break this season. Obviously everyone needs to be great, but there are five players who I think could really make this year one to remember.
Maple Leafs: Five players to keep an eye on heading into the new season
For this list, I am not going to focus on the core four, instead here are five players all in drastically different positions of their career and on the ice that can make a real difference for the team this season.
1. Matthew Knies
Knies got his first real taste of the NHL this past season when he played in three regular season games and seven playoff games before his season ended due to a concussion.
Knies showed promise during his limited playoff opportunity this postseason. He scored a big goal and registered three assists. He looked like he could be a real top six forward on this team and make an impact every night. Check out his first every NHL playoff goal from round two against the Florida Panthers, Knies went to the net and good things happened.
There is a good chance Knies will get to play a top six role this upcoming season, and personally I think that is a great opportunity for Knies to shine. He has proven he can thrive in the postseason, and now it will be fun to watch him play throughout the grind of an NHL regular season.
The former second round pick played for the University of Minnesota last season where he put up 42 points in 40 NHL games.