Comparing Toronto Maple Leafs to Past 10 Stanley Cup Champions

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 11: Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates with the Stanley Cup Trophy after they defeated the Nashville Predators 2-0 to win the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Bridgestone Arena on June 11, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 11: Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates with the Stanley Cup Trophy after they defeated the Nashville Predators 2-0 to win the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Bridgestone Arena on June 11, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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SAN JOSE, CA – JANUARY 26: Auston Matthews #34 and John Tavares #91 of the Toronto Maple Leafs / (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA – JANUARY 26: Auston Matthews #34 and John Tavares #91 of the Toronto Maple Leafs / (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

#1. The Leader

The leader doesn’t necessarily have to be the captain of the team, but more often than not they are.

This is what makes the captaincy so important for each individual team. It’s not just a ‘C’ on a jersey. It defines who the team is and that leader is so important to team success.

  • 2018-19: Alex Pietrangelo 
  • 2017-18: Alex Ovechkin
  • 2016-17: Sidney Crosby
  • 2015-16: Sidney Crosby
  • 2014-15: Jonathan Toews
  • 2013-14: Anze Kopitar
  • 2012-13: Jonathan Toews
  • 2011-12: Dustin Brown
  • 2010-11: Zdeno Chara
  • 2009-10: Jonathan Toews 

As you can see, each Stanley Cup winner had a leader who would give anything to win. That player was not only one of the best players on their team but a vocal leader you would run through a wall for.

Toronto Maple Leafs Leader: John Tavares

Tavares not only wears the captaincy, but represents everything about the Toronto Maple Leafs fan-base inside the dressing room.

All Tavares cares about is winning a Stanley Cup in his hometown and that’s exactly what you need your leader to be. He’s has a very similar demeanor to Crosby as he’s reserved off the ice, but on the ice, he’ll do anything to win.

#2. The Game-Breaker (Batman)

Although the leader can be a game-breaker too, every championship team needs a superstar who will deliver in the big moments.

The game-breaker is a superstar offensive talent and is typically deserving of the Conn Smythe Trophy when the playoffs are over.

They don’t receive the award every year but is a huge reason towards the team winning and deserves a ton of credit for success.

  • 2018-19: Ryan O’Reilly
  • 2017-18: Evgeny Kuznetsov
  • 2016-17: Phil Kessel
  • 2015-16: Evgeni Malkin
  • 2014-15: Patrick Kane
  • 2013-14: Justin Williams
  • 2012-13: Patrick Kane
  • 2011-12: Anze Kopitar
  • 2010-11: Patrice Bergeron
  • 2009-10: Patrick Kane

All of the individuals above are superstar offensive talents. The only player who may not fall into that category is Justin Williams, but “Mr. Game 7” is the definition of a game-breaker, as he always delivers in the biggest moments.

Toronto Maple Leafs Game-Breaker: Auston Matthews

The Toronto Maple Leafs fit another category perfectly with Matthews as their game-breaker. There is arguably no better player in the NHL 5v5, so Matthews has the ability to change a game every time he steps on the ice.