Leafs icon and 4-time Cup winner Dave Keon sends a message to the current Leafs core

Ryan Smitheram
February 4, 2024  (5:33 PM)

Leafs legend Dave Keon
Photo credit: NHL

On Friday, Maple Leafs icon Dave Keon sat down with the Toronto Star and discussed all things Maple Leafs. One of the questions asked was about the current team and more specifically, Auston Matthews Mitch Marner and William Nylander. Keon's response was very candid.

While he believes that the trio will all be at the top of the franchise record books, Keon showed he still cares and wants to see a Cup win by the Leafs, criticizing the trio for underperforming when it matters most. The trio have already broken multiple franchise records this season and will likely break a few more, but their lack of playoff success will continue to haunt them unless things change come April. For all of their individual records, Keon emphasized that it all means nothing if they don't win when it matters.
"And unless they win a Cup, that will be their legacy. What is the object of this exercise? At the start of the year, when you gather in training camp, the object of the exercise is to win the Stanley Cup. If you have all of these players putting up great numbers and you've won one playoff series in eight or nine years, and you haven't even
played for the Stanley Cup, then you have to take a look in the mirror."

Keon, who won a Calder Trophy, Lady Byng Trophy (twice), Conn Smythe Trophy and four Stanley Cups with the Leafs, has never been one to mince words and certainly didn't here. His views align with many Leaf fans who had been calling for a major shakeup of the "Core Four", but with Matthews and Nylander now signed to extensions and Brendan Shanahan still at the helm, it doesn't seem like that will happen. The only option now is for this core to get the job done.
Keon's comments on the Leafs' leadership and stars are truthful, but also ironic as former owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Harold Ballard, disputed Keon's leadership abilities, and essentially exiled him from the NHL during the public dispute. The dispute ultimately caused a long-standing rift between Keon and the Leafs that was put to rest by Shanahan before Keon's number was retired.
Leafs icon and 4-time Cup winner Dave Keon sends a message to the current Leafs core

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