Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock praised the performance of Auston Matthews, but believes there’s always room for improvement writes NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman. Matthews, who registered 40 goals and 69 points en route to a playoff appearance and Calder Award, will be expected to build on his performance last season as the Leafs look to take the next step in their rebuild. Babcock says that he isn’t one to “measure by points” but instead looks at how they “play” and “compete.” The young Leafs took a huge step forward, pushing the “painful rebuild” that Babcock once called it into a quicker ascent. But in true Babcockian form, he sprinkles praise while expecting more:
Obviously we have good young players,” Babcock said. “We have a lot of them. It’s kind of a group that’s growing up together. But it’s one year and one year doesn’t make a career. You have to do it again and again and again. We’re excited about our opportunities.
- Puck Daddy’s Ryan Lambert writes about how Ryan Johansen’s deal certainly challenges the old guard way of thinking when it comes to bridge contracts. Rewarding Johansen with an eight-year deal instead of a one-two year contract. Lambert points out that going with the longer deal instead of a bridge and then the long deal seems like the better bet. The logic here would be getting the player through his prime instead of playing a “wait and see” game and then locking him up long after his prime has expired. There are a litany of examples of this in the NHL, but in an age of cost certainty and public outcry at what’s deemed a bad deal, general managers are often in a tight spot when it comes to choosing a bridge deal or a long-term contract.