Frank Mahovlich was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1967 when they last won the Stanley Cup. And he says he feels they are close to ending their 52-year drought.
"I thought they should have won the Stanley Cup [last season]," Mahovlich said at the NHL Alumni Celebrity Golf Classic at Glencairn Golf Club on Monday. "I think they've got a good enough team to do it."
The Maple Leafs, who went 46-28-8 and finished third in the Atlantic Division last season, lost to the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference First Round for the second consecutive year. It was the third straight season Toronto qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs but failed to reach the second round (it lost to the Washington Capitals in 2017).
Mahovlich, who won the Stanley Cup four times with the Maple Leafs (1962, 1963, 1964, 1967) and twice with the Montreal Canadiens (1971, 1973), said the next step is building cohesiveness throughout their young core and applying the lessons they have learned through playoff failures.
"Now it's just building chemistry, getting the fellows together and playing together a little more," said Mahovlich, a forward who is in the Hockey Hall of Fame. "That's what you have to do to win Stanley Cups. It's chemistry, some teams get it, some teams don't, but I think they definitely have the potential to win. They've got so many good players there."
Among Toronto's core are forwards Auston Matthews, 21; Mitchell Marner, 22; and William Nylander, a 23-year-old restricted free agent.