John Tavares Opens Up on the Maple Leafs' Biggest Challenge Ahead of Next Season

Julien Trekker
August 27, 2023  (1:24 PM)

In a recent interview, Maple Leafs' captain, John Tavares, discussed the challenges his team will be facing over in the upcoming season, as their rivals got significantly better.


Tavares Speaks Out

In an insightful interview, Tavares delved into the enhanced competitiveness within the Atlantic Division, resulting from the recent offseason improvements made by fellow teams.
"Yeah, 100 percent (the competition will be more difficult). The steps that Detroit, Buffalo and Ottawa, the steps they are taking, you see the talent they are developing and the season some of their guys have had (last year) and the way their teams are growing and the challenges they present, they obviously feel they are ready to start contending and be playoff teams. There is no doubt it's only going to continue to get harder and harder, so we are aware of that challenge and know what's ahead." - John Tavares on the new challengers

However, Tavares also said that the Leafs are maintaining high stadards for themselves – hoping to win nothing less than the Stanley Cup.
"We certainly respect what they bring to the table, but we have to be prepared and we expect a lot of ourselves and have high expectations to still be one of the top teams if not the top team in our division. That's always the goal when you start the year and I think with the caliber of players we have and the depth we have, we still want to be right there but we know the competition is only getting tougher." - John Tavares on the Leafs standard

The Challengers

Tavares specifically named the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, and Ottawa Senators as the contenders to watch out for in the coming year. Let's break down what's cooking for these teams.
Buffalo Sabres
Buffalo hasn't exactly been making headline-grabbing signings or blockbuster trades, but they're gradually blossoming into a youthful powerhouse. With Rasmus Dahlin, Owen Power, Dylan Cozens, Jack Quinn, JJ Peterka, and more, they're expected to make big strides. Not to forget, they're currently sitting on a chunk of cap space, with strong rumors swirling around hometown hero UFA Patrick Kane.

Detroit Red Wings
The Motor City team didn't hold back in the offseason, making some substantial moves. They picked up Alex DeBrincat through a trade, potentially amping up their goal-scoring prowess. The acquisition of Jeff Petry further solidifies their defense. And they've brought in fresh faces like J.T. Compher, Shayne Gostisbehere, and former Leaf Justin Holl. With rising stars like Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider, the Red Wings are poised for growth.

Ottawa Senators
Ottawa's a mix of Buffalo's youthfulness and Detroit's proactive roster adjustments. They have a lot of emerging talent in Tim Stutzle, Josh Norris, Jake Sanderson, Brady Tkachuk, and Shane Pinto. However, they've also swung some impactful deals, signing Vladimir Tarasenko to fill the void left by Alex DeBrincat, and securing goalie Joonas Korpisalo.

While the Leafs brace themselves for a more competitive season, they're far from backing down. Their eyes remain locked on the Stanley Cup.
As seen on Hockey Patrol - Tavares Reveals The Biggest Challenge The Leafs Will Face Next Year
August 27   |   87 answers
John Tavares Opens Up on the Maple Leafs' Biggest Challenge Ahead of Next Season

Who do you think will have more points next seasons?

Toronto6574.7 %
Buffalo33.4 %
Ottawa1112.6 %
Detroit89.2 %
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