Under-the-Radar Players That Can Help the Toronto Maple Leafs Achieve Glory

The performance of the Leafs stars will ultimately determine their success in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but players from further down the roster must also do their part.
Toronto Maple Leafs v Carolina Hurricanes
Toronto Maple Leafs v Carolina Hurricanes / Jaylynn Nash/GettyImages
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The stars must lead the way if the Toronto Maple Leafs are to defeat the Boston Bruins in their first-round matchup of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The idea of important players playing a meaningful role in determining a team's postseason success is not a bold proclamation. While it's true the marquee players drive the bus, the last team standing always has significant contributions from unexpected sources.

The Leafs most recent trip to a Conference Final was in 2001-2002 against the Carolina Hurricanes. Missing their captain and best player, Mats Sundin, due to injury, a big part of that team's success was the unexpected spike in performance from Alyn McCauley.

John Druce, Fernando Pisani, Bryan Bickell, and Dave Lowry are other league-wide (likely forgotten) names that helped their teams to a Cup final or championship with their surprise performances.

So, who will be the Leafs next iteration of Nikolai Borschevsky, Lonny Bohonos, or Garry Valk? Here are some under-the-radar players that can help them get past the Boston Bruins, and perhaps, go on a long playoff run.

Under-the-Radar Players That Must Help the Toronto Maple Leafs to Postseason Success

Morgan Rielly is the Leafs most important defenceman. He logs the most minutes and has anchored their blue line for years. Repeating his play from last year's playoffs is critical, considering the team's lack of depth on defense.

Coming a close second to Rielly as the most crucial defenseman is Jake McCabe. Someone else needs to play a lot of important minutes while Rielly is not on the ice.

McCabe plays with an edge and a physical nature. He's the closest thing the Leafs have to replace Jake Muzzin and what he brought before injuries sidelined him long-term.

His thunderous, open-ice hits are capable of shifting momentum. They bring life to the Maple Leafs bench while also getting the attention of the opposition.

He also does not turn down a good post-whistle scrum, facewash, or a well-placed slash or cross-check to an opponent. These types of encounters are common to postseason play, especially with Brad Marchand as part of the opposition.