The Maple Leafs' roster has been improved by the additions general manager Kyle Dubas made before the NHL trade deadline, mostly notably Stanley Cup champion Ryan O'Rielly but Toronto's Eastern Conference rivals have also bulked up, meaning the early round playoff matchups are going to be fiercely fought series, regardless of the matchups.
- There's no peace in east, man. There is no peace in the east. Like every Eastern Conference team that is either in the playoffs in a playoff spot are on the bubble has added and bulked up. New Jersey got Timo Meier. The Rangers got Tarasenko and Patrick Kane. Boston got Orlov and Hathaway. Pittsburgh just got a Granlund from Nashville. Tampa got, you know it, everyone's going off about how that's a bad deal and forgetting that they won back to back cups.
Ottawa, who's not in the playoffs right now, just got Jacob Chychrun. Is that concerning? No. The only thing I'm focused on is Tampa because, again, we're facing Tampa in the first round. Now is it concerning for other teams? I don't know. Now here's my like optimistic scenario. And yes, I'm going to knock on wood before I say this, right? Because say what if the Leafs, it's the 10 year anniversary of the first game seven. I'm sorry if it has made you relive it. I relive it all the time.
If the Leafs do it, they beat Tampa, and then an upset happens because in the Boston series against whoever because they bulked up they beat Boston. And then maybe that series is so hard that they're tired. And then we face them. And then maybe we win. And then maybe we win again.
So that's I guess the kind of like weird like positive spin I'm kind of focusing on is that everyone is bulking up in the east, but that's going to make every single series that much tougher, including ours. So yeah, we do need to buckle in and actually win some fricking games in the playoffs here. And despite the fact that Dubas has added around the core, at the end of the day, it's going to come down to the core. Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, William Nylander, Morgan Reilly.
Can they get it done? Can they score? Can they have some type of impact move? I think throughout the season we've seen like moments we've seen like William Nylander be great all year. We've seen moments of Mitch Marner completely taking over. We've seen moments of Auston Matthews taking over. We see moments of John Tavares, again, completely getting rid of the narrative that he's washed.
Morgan Rielly has had the best season. Maybe the playoffs can change that. Maybe this can be the year where everything aligns perfectly and everyone is in on the same goal. I mean, Ryan O'Reilly had that one quote that literally just like ignited the passion within me. He said, "We're all in."
I'm in. I'm assuming you're in. The team seems to be in. You know every year it ends up being a different team. Why can't it be us?