The Toronto Maple Leafs sit in third place in the Atlantic, with the trade deadline on the horizon.
As the trade deadline slowly approaches, a lot of new faces will pop up around the NHLs 31 teams.
As each leave a sentimental goodbye, there are often slews of fans, players, media personal etc. who talk about how good a player was in the locker room.
Why are “good locker room guys” so valuable?
A recent example can be seen from former Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Matt Martin. While he barley recorded any points as a fourth liner, he developed a budding friendship with Mitch Marner as a role model and leader.
I think many people disregard the importance of chemistry in the locker room and scoff when someone is referred to as a “good locker room guy.” These types of players may not have much impact on the ice but are the glue holding the team together off the ice.
However, there is also the opposite of “good locker room guys.”
These are players who supposedly impact the chemistry of a team in a negative way. Being perceived as bad in the locker room can even cause players to be traded.
Former Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel was often rumoured to be this kind of player, during his tumultuous time in Toronto.
So, what’s the correlation here?
As teams begin to prepare for playoff runs, it is important that the locker room is solid. Mike Babcock was clearly poison to the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have since blossomed in his departure. After confirmed stories arose of his impact on Mitch Marner, it should be clear to all the importance of a cohesive locker room.
Do the Toronto Maple Leafs have a solid locker room?
Keeping players accountable for their actions, allowing leadership to have a voice in the locker room, and team bonding is very important if the Toronto Maple Leafs wish to make the playoffs.
With the recent addition of Campbell and Clifford, it is even more important that they become a cohesive unit within the blue and white dressing room.
While winning games are of course the utmost important, if the locker room is toxic, the play will show this. Ultimately, as fans, we will never know for sure just how cohesive a team’s locker room is.
We just know that it’s an important facet of a winning team.