The Toronto Maple Leafs are in the midst of gearing up for their 100th NHL season. It’s an incredible feat that will see the team pull out all the stops to make this year something special. The rebuild has continued on schedule with the Maple Leafs making some interesting moves over the summer in an attempt to make the club competitive.
This edition of Maple Leafs News will focus on the organizations deal with Auston Matthews, the Jhonas Enroth rumours and John Tavares and whether or not him coming to Toronto is a viable option in the near future.
Matthews Signs on the Dotted Line
The Maple Leafs selected the big centre first overall this past draft. That day in June seems like a lifetime ago, as the dog days of summer have been dragging on for hockey fans all around the world. The Maple Leafs made a great pick with Matthews, making him the first U.S.-born player selected first overall since Patrick Kane back in 2007.
With the summer dragging by, some fans were left wondering why Matthews had not yet signed his contract. The rumours were put to rest once and for all not too long ago as the Maple Leafs signed their prized pick to a three-year, entry level contract. The contract also includes the maximum bonuses and salary.
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) July 21, 2016
Matthews is one of the young stars tasked with helping the Maple Leafs turn their franchise around. Along with the core of Morgan Rielly, William Nylander and Mitch Marner, Matthews will be instrumental in changing the direction of the franchise for years to come.
Maple Leafs Searching for Veteran Backup
The Maple Leafs acquired Frederik Andersen and promptly signed him to a five-year contract. Lou Lamoriello has now begun to search for a capable backup that can provide a veteran presence on a young Leafs team. One name that has been tossed around an awful lot is Jhonas Enroth, who played behind Jonathan Quick this past season.
Enroth would be a solid choice for the rebuilding Maple Leafs. He’s a veteran goaltender who has spent time with the Buffalo Sabres, Dallas Stars and most recently the Los Angeles Kings. Swedish media outlets were reporting that the Maple Leafs were close to a deal with the 28-year-old unrestricted free agent, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.
In 16 appearances with the Kings this season, Enroth had a record of 7-5-1 with a 2.17 goals against average and a .922 save percentage.
John Tavares Linked With Toronto
Until Steven Stamkos re-signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning, his name was heavily linked with the team he grew up idolizing. Now that Stamkos is off the market, the focus has shifted to Tavares and whether or not he would come to Toronto in the near future.
— Stan Fischler (@StanFischler) July 27, 2016
Tavares is an extremely talented player that would make the Leafs leaps and bounds better. But in this case, it’s probably better to not count on him coming home. Tavares and Stamkos are in vastly different situations.
But, anything can happen. Maybe Tavares doesn’t like how the team has shaped up in Brooklyn and decides to take a dip into free agency. On the flip side, he’s extremely loyal to the organization and is the team’s leader, and its heart and soul.
The Maple Leafs may not even need Tavares at that point if their prospects continue to develop and lead the team. It’s all speculation at this point, and things can change in an instant. It’s a fun idea to keep on the back burner, even if it’s all just swirling rumours.