Leafs Coach Expecting More Out of Matthews, Marner and Nylander

The Toronto Maple Leafs are built around a young core that includes Mitch Marner, William Nylander and Auston Matthews. The trio continue to have a spotlight shining down on their early careers, which isn't likely to change anytime soon playing in Toronto. 

The playoff success hasn't come just yet, however their regular season production has as the trio combined for over 200 points last year. Regardless, their head coach knows, they still haven't come close to their ceilings and Sheldon Keefe recently spoke with Mark Masters of TSN and had this about their development:

They have a great deal to grow. I don't know where it shakes out in terms of their production. The production has been fairly good, of course, especially in the regular season as they've established themselves as premier players. But I think all of our players have room to grow in all the other areas of their game in terms of the consistency away from the puck and the competitiveness in terms of their ability to bring the best out of others around them and not just be at their best.

The Maple Leafs management team feels they addressed some leadership issues this off season by bringing in veterans like Wayne Simmonds, Zach Bogosian, TJ Brodie and Joe Thornton. It certainly won't hurt to have some more NHL experience in the room, as they saw with Jason Spezza last year, it can be a difference maker for development. 

There is a responsibility, as you grow as leaders, to bring the best out of those around you and that's a big part of it....We're a significantly older and more experienced team this season than we were last, so we're going to have greater support in that area, because I do think it requires a team of leaders. I think that will just help everybody find a whole new level.

Look for big years out of Nylander, Matthews and Marner next season. They will be expected to carry the load for the Maple Leafs who hope to get out of the first-round of the playoffs for the first time in 15 years.


Photo credit:  Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire