Mitch Marner, John Tavares, Auston Matthews, William Nylander
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Former Leaf reveals the message that the organization has sent to Matthews, Marner, Nylander and Tavares

Published March 9, 2024 at 9:49

When the clock struck 3 on Friday, March 8th, the Leafs had wrapped up their trade deadline having acquired just 3 players to help bolster the lineup. All 3 adds were viewed as relatively minor additions in comparison to what was rumoured, but in the end, they addressed only their areas of true need, bringing in two blueliners, 1 right shot and 1 left shot, and a depth forward who can kill penalties.

The additions of Ilya Lyubushkin, Joel Edmundson and Connor Dewar may seem someone insignificant in comparison to what a team like the Vegas Golden Knights did, for example, but the Leafs are already a very good team, with several players on pace for career seasons, including Auston Matthews, who is on pace to surpass 70 goals, William Nylander, who is on pace to shatter his previous career high 87 points, and Mitch Marner, who is on pace to reach the 100-point plateau for the first time in his NHL career.

One former Leaf and current podcaster, Jay Rosehill, spoke about the moves the Leafs made on Friday, and while most were underwhelmed by what the Leafs had done on deadline day, he also understands that if the team is going to go far in the playoffs, they'll have to rely on their top guys to play to their potential and elevate their game in the postseason if they want to have any hope of a deep playoff run.

"They plugged some holes. They did what they could with what they had to work with and what they were willing to give up, and at the end of the day, the answer lies within that locker room. It's up to these big boys. I don't think they need some saviour to come in. That guy doesn't exist anyways... I think the answer lies within that locker room already.

[The Core 4] gotta to find their character, they gotta find their passion and they gotta find their intensity and they gotta get ready for playoff hockey, because, again, the answer is already in that room. It's up to those boys." - Rosehill on the Leafs not going big-game hunting at the deadline

Last year, the Florida Panthers didn't do much of anything at the deadline and still managed to go on a run to the finals, having blazed their path there through the Bruins, Maple Leafs and Hurricanes before being outmatched by Vegas. If this year's Leafs want to go on a similar run, it will be up to the Core 4 to take them to the promised land. It wouldn't be on a player who was brought in at the deadline to take them there. In that sense, maybe this was the right message for management to send in Toronto. Nobody is going to do it for these guys. They'll have to do it on their own, playing for the guys beside them in the locker room and on the bench. Not a bad message to send.

March 9   |   578 answers
Former Leaf reveals the message that the organization has sent to Matthews, Marner, Nylander and Tavares

Do you think the Leafs did enough to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals this year?

No, not even close28649.5 %
Yes, it's all on the big guys now12922.3 %
We'll have to wait and see16328.2 %
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