Golden Leafs: What Toronto can learn from how Vegas built its Cup team

Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Alberga
1 year ago
It took six long years, but finally, the Vegas Golden Knights have climbed the summit and are your 2023 Stanley Cup champions.
Firstly, shoutout to Maple Leafs legends Michael Amadio and Phil Kessel.
Honestly, considering it took the Leafs 19 years to win a playoff series, I would be lying if I said this one didn’t sting a little.
Kudos to the long-suffering fans of Las Vegas. What a journey.
I’m done with the sarcasm, I promise.
With that in mind, the focus now shifts in earnest to what is expected to be another wild and chaotic NHL offseason. The Draft is  just 15 days away. After that, free agency’s back to its normal July 1st at Noon Eastern start.
In short, buckle up.
From a Leafs perspective, I’m not sure whether it feels better or worse watching the Panthers get obliterated by the Golden Knights in five games. To be fair, it’s probably the latter. At the very least, there’s no question Toronto can learn quite a bit from both Cup Final representatives. It’s a grind.
Bottom line: Defence wins championships. If there’s one lasting memory I’ll have from this Vegas team, it’s how mobile and monstrous they were on the back end. On top of that, they possessed so much depth. Each guy pulled their weight, and together, they formed one powerful, cohesive unit. They were outstanding.
Furthermore, taking nothing away from Adin Hill, who’s unlikely emergence was a downright incredible story this postseason, Vegas did an incredible job of insulating their third string netminder after he entered the scene in Round 2. And that leads me to coaching. From bench boss Bruce Cassidy to all his Assistants to goalie coach Sean Burke, they all deserve tons of credit for this masterpiece. From day one of the regular season, the Golden Knights were one of the best coached teams in the NHL. And it wasn’t even close. Full stop. Period. Everyone bought in.
By the way, that’s not an indictment on Sheldon Keefe either. It’s hard to win in this league. That said, it was very noticeable all season long how structured, disciplined and dialled in Bruce Cassidy’s bunch were. They put it all together at the right time, and rightfully so, they were rewarded for that.
Let the offseason begin!

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