As the NHL season kicks off, we will run a short series on what needs to happen for certain teams to have a successful 2016-17 season.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have high expectations this year with their rebuild in a new stage, with their exciting young players now in the NHL. While those expectations involve players taking the next step forward, it doesn't mean the team expects to make a playoff run this year. Here's three key things that could make Toronto Maple Leafs fans go nuts in excitement this year and can boost the team even further ahead:
Matthews has already shown what he's made of and more in his unbelievable debut, scoring 4 goals against the Ottawa Senators and despite the team losing, Matthews provided the team with elite play that will only continue as the season gets underway. How Matthews continues this season will help determine how successful the Leafs will be in the months ahead.
Marner, despite not scoring in his debut, played stellar and generated tons of scoring chances against Ottawa, he's here to stay by the looks of it, and it's only a matter of time before he starts racking up the points himself.
-Defense and Goaltending
If Toronto wants to move up in the standings this year, their defense and goaltending has to improve. While Fredrik Andersen made some pretty good stops against the Senators, he still let in 5 goals in his debut with the Leafs. On top of that, the Leafs blue liners didn't necessarily help the cause either by letting the Senators jump into the offensive zone to get more shots on goal. This has to improve of Toronto wants to get out of the NHL cellar.