Earlier today, Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock told TSN’s Mark Masters that Shawn Matthias is a “Toronto kid that wanted to play for the Leafs,” and went on to predict that more Toronto-born players will come home to play for their childhood favourites.
Immediately, everyone drew a connection between the Leafs and maybe-soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Steven Stamkos. But hey, that’s only one guy. There are so many star players that come from The Six.
See below our Top 5 Prodigal Sons who will one day soon return to Toronto and help the Leafs to new and infinitely sustained success.
5. Max Domi
In case you forgot, Max Domi is a top prospect in the Arizona Coyotes organization and son of legendary Leafs pugilist Tie Domi. While he was only drafted two years ago, I felt the need to remind you because nobody cares about the Arizona Coyotes and it’s likely that Domi has already slipped your mind.
Andrew Barroway, bless him, recently purchased 51% of the Coyotes franchise. Apparently he didn’t know that you can’t play hockey in an actual desert. It’s so hot there! That’s why, when the club goes bankrupt (again), the Coyotes will have a yard sale outside the Gila River Arena to help fund their move to a more traditional hockey market. Two things could happen here… One, the Leafs could pick up Young Domi and a few Jimmy Eat World records for $5.25… Or two, he winds up moving back home anyways, but as a member of a second NHL team in Toronto. Either way, Prodigal Domi returns.
4. P.K. Subban
You’re probably saying, “No way! Subban has seven years left on his deal! He just signed a long-term contract to stay with the Canadiens!”
That is true, but recent events have P.K. wishing he was back home in Hogtown and playing for Canada’s team – the Toronto Maple Leafs. Subban ‘C’s himself as ‘C’ material, and will now have to ‘C’ himself out of Montreal because Max Pacioretty is the new locker room leader. I envision the Canadiens going on an amazing run and looking like early favourites to win the Cup, then Subban will drop a bombshell and submit a trade request…
Montreal will then lose every game for the next decade. Ha ha ha.
3. John Tavares
John Tavares was cool with living in The Hamptons and attending Puff Daddy’s annual White Party, but he’s seriously not impressed by the move to Brooklyn. See, Tavares has no interest in dodging hipsters on single-speed bikes and fighting bridge trolls just to make it to the Barclay’s Center and be the second-biggest show in town behind the New York Rangers.
No, JT91 will have none of that. As soon as the remaining three years on his current contract is up, he’ll be willing to come home and play literally anywhere in the Leafs organization.
2. Connor McDavid
Connor McDavid has the skills and vision to dip and dance around any obstacle in his way, including restricted free agency. Sure, the Next Crosby hasn’t even played a game of his three-year NHL entry level contract yet, but when it’s up and the Oilers still hold his rights, he’ll find a way out somehow.
I’m thinking a really long, painful hold-out that results in the Edmonton front office simply not qualifying McDavid and letting him walk. I also envision a lot of really, really sad Oilers fans. Like, sadder than they already are. McDavid will go full heel when he hits Taylor Hall with a steel chair and puts him on long term IR.
1. Steven Stamkos
Stamkos takes top billing because his arrival is just around the corner. See, at the end of this season, whether he’s dealt at the deadline or not, Steven Stamkos will be hitting the open market, negotiating with Toronto before free agent frenzy hits and signing that contract at 12:01 PM on July 1st, 2016. He won’t sign right at noon because he’ll be too busy saying “Wow, thank God I don’t have to play hockey in Florida anymore.”
See, Stamkos is neither old nor decrepit. He belongs in a hip and happening city where they serve sushi at hockey games, like Toronto. Along with Mike Babcock, Stamkos will win Stanley Cup after Stanley Cup after Stanley Cup for his hometown team.