It’s almost time for hockey to start up again. The Toronto Maple Leafs have been busy preparing themselves for the upcoming season and have been focusing closely on player personnel. The Leafs had a breakout campaign last season and are looking to build on their momentum for 2017-18.
Much of that success was built upon what their young players were able to do. It’s easy to talk about the many accomplishments of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander. All three were instrumental in the resurgence of the Leafs.
It’s time to take the next step and the Leafs are always looking to get better. In that spirit, they have made some important moves this summer to solidify their team.
Locking up Connor Brown
Lost in the shuffle of great rookies was Connor Brown. The savvy forward was overshadowed much of the year by names like Matthews, Marner and Nylander. Brown was able to put together a fantastic rookie season that saw him score 20 goals and add 16 assists for 36 points in 82 games.
He displayed great hockey sense as well and was used in all situations by head coach Mike Babcock. Brown needed a new contract and time was running out. Training camp was around the corner, but neither Brown nor the Leafs management team seemed overly concerned about a deal getting done.
Not being concerned was the correct course as the Leafs were able to lock up Brown for three years at $2.1-million per season. It’s a huge bargain of a contract and it looks like Brown took a hometown discount to help the Leafs cap space in the future.
He’ll be a valuable piece in the coming years as the Leafs start to make deeper and deeper runs into the playoffs.
The Future on Display
It’s late Augst and hockey fans are starved for any bit of news about their favourite team. Thankfully many Leafs fans will not have to wait long for a bit of Blue and White action. The Leafs announced their roster for their upcoming rookie tournament will be taking place next week from the 8th to the 10th of September.
It will be a round robin affair against both the Montreal Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators. There are some big names on the list for the Leafs that fans will want to keep a close eye on. The first is Jeremy Bracco, the Windsor Spitfire who is coming off of a Memorial Cup back in May.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) August 28, 2017
Adam Brooks, the talented and high scoring WHL product, is on the list as well. On the defensive side, there are a couple of names to watch. The first is Travis Dermott. The former Erie Otter and current Toronto Marlie is slated to participate and many believe that he will be challenging for a roster spot with the Leafs this coming year.
Don’t sleep on Timothy Liljegren either. The most recent Leafs first rounder has been impressing with his speed, scoring and skating at informal meetings so far this summer. The Swede is a special talent that could become a huge weapon on the blueline for the Leafs in the coming years.
The next wave of kids is on display and if the current crop in the NHL is any indication, the future of the Blue and White is in good hands.