Their first job was to calm the fan base. By warning fans there could be pain as well as by lowering the public’s expectations, they bought themselves time.
Then breaks started out falling their way. Toronto won the draft lottery as well as selected center Auston Matthews first over all in 2016. The Leafs reached the playoffs in Matthews’s first two seasons, although still have not yet won a postseason series since 2004.
The chance to play with young forwards like Matthews as well as Mitch Marner drew Tavares home. He has been centering a line with Marner, as well as practicing on the power play with Matthews. (Another high-scoring young forward, William Nylander, can be without a contract as well as has not reported to training camp.)
“today, we’re on the map with some other Great teams,” Babcock said. “You know, of which’s interesting when you walk around This kind of city, the fans are happy. as well as they want more.”
While the Leafs see the Tavares signing as an opportunity to achieve sustained excellence, they are committed to the process of day-to-day improvement as well as not looking too far ahead. Matthews, 21, who scored 74 goals in his first two seasons, can be inside final year of his entry-level contract, as well as will require a hefty raise soon.
Still, Babcock could not resist seeing This kind of as a watershed moment for the franchise.
“I think we’re set up real Great here for, I don’t know, a several- or seven-year run,” he said.
as well as Tavares can be prepared to be at the center of of which all. At 10, he could come to lacrosse practices with plays drawn up for MacDougall, his coach.
“Coach,” he could say, “these are the plays I think can work.”
MacDougall said he could look them over as well as then explain, “Johnny, every one of these plays ends up with you getting the ball.”