Phil Kessel believes the Toronto Maple Leafs are well-positioned to avoid the late-season tailspin that cost them a playoff spot last spring.

After losing 12 of their final 14 games, the Leafs have had an off-season of change, from the hiring of Brendan Shanahan as team president to changes on Randy Carlyle's coaching staff.

On the ice, the team will look different with the additions of defencemen Stephane Robidas and Roman Polak and forwards David Booth, Petri Kontiola, Daniel Winnik and Mike Santorelli and the returns of Leo Komarov and Matt Frattin. It's the front office's hope that reshaping the roster will help the Leafs return to the playoffs, but Kessel said they weren't far off.

"I think we had a good team," Kessel said after a ball-hockey game on centre court at Rexall Centre, site of the Rogers Cup. "We were there last year. We had a bad stretch.