Hockey analyst Johnny Lazarus believes this is the Toronto Maple Leafs year. In three phrases that begin with “s,” they have strength, stars, and swagger!

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The Maple Leafs Enter the Season with New Energy

The Maple Leafs are gearing up for the 2023-24 season, and their fans have reason to be excited. Last season, they broke a 19-year playoff series drought with a win over the tough Tampa Bay Lightning. Can they do more?

In the video below, Jonny Lazarus shares why he believes we can expect great things from the Maple Leafs in this upcoming season. He highlights their strengths and one potential area of concern.

Four Reasons Lazarus Believes in the Maple Leafs

The following are the four reasons, with one area of question, that Lazarus believes show the Maple Leafs have a strong team.

Reason One: The Maple Leafs Have a Strong Core

The Maple Leafs boast an impressive center position with star players like Auston Matthews, John Tavares, and William Nylander. This depth down the middle gives the team a significant advantage and sets the stage for a potent powerful offensive attack.

John Tavares & William Nylander, Maple Leafs

Reason Two: The Maple Leafs Have a Strengthened Blue Line

Toronto has taken steps to improve its defence, with Timothy Liljegren stepping into a more prominent role. The team will focus on building its defensive structure and reducing its reliance on Mark Giordano. Giordano will still be good; but, he’ll have to play fewer minutes. Their stronger blue line should provide stability and complement the team’s offensive firepower.

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Reason Three: The Maple Leafs Have Added Swagger with Ryan Reaves

One significant offseason addition of Ryan Reaves. Lazarus recalls Reaves adding much to the New York Rangers when he was there. Reaves is known for his imposing presence and locker-room leadership. He’ll be a really positive influence on the other players.

Reaves has a track record of boosting team morale and instilling confidence. His arrival adds a new dimension – Swagger! He will add the grit and determination needed for the team to thrive in tough situations.

One Area of Question

However, Lazarus notes that the Maple Leafs have talent between the pipes, but there are some questions. Ilya Samsonov is expected to lead the way, but rookie Joseph Woll is emerging as a potential challenger.

Ilya Samsonov, Maple Leafs starting goalie

The competition for the starting goalie role could lead to elite-level goaltending and bolster the team’s overall performance. However, that tandem hasn’t yet proven itself over any length of time. Can they step up?

The Bottom Line

As the season unfolds, fans will be eagerly watching to see if the team can turn this positive outlook into on-ice success. With their potent offence, improved defence, and newfound swagger, Toronto’s hockey fans have reason to believe this could be a memorable season for the blue and white.

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