Every kid growing up in Toronto dreams of playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs one day.
John Tavares and Jason Spezza are two current Toronto Maple Leafs that made that a reality and there may be a few more joining them this off-season. Every off-season, it feels like there’s a player the Leafs target that was born in the Greater Toronto Area. Whether it was Steven Stamkos, John Tavares or David Clarkson, the team had interest.
Stamkos would have been great for the Leafs, but missing out on him opened the door for Tavares. Meanwhile, Clarkson turned out to be one of the worst contracts signed in the history of the NHL.
Returning home should be a joyous occasion, but sometimes it’s hard to live up to expectations. Although your support system is strong with all of your local friends and family cheering you on, the monkey on your back gets 1000 times heavier when you go on a cold-streak.
Toronto may be a wonderful city to live in, with unbelievable accommodations, but the pressure of performing in your hometown can be too much. That’s why you don’t see as many player’s return home as you would think.
Tavares is the obvious exception, as the future Hall-of-Famer is embracing the idea of playing for the team he grew up idolizing. As the team’s captain, he’s the leader on-and-off the ice and will most likely be a community ambassador for decades after he retires.
The Leafs are a few pieces away from winning a Stanley Cup, so you’d have to think that every kid who grew up in Toronto would give anything to win a championship in their home city. Especially, since the city is starved for a title after a 53-year drought.
Who know’s if these players want to return to Toronto, but here are five hometown kids the Leafs should consider signing this off-season.