Aside from his dad-like attitude on this team and in post-game interviews, defenceman Ron Hainsey was able to contribute something to last year’s Maple Leafs team that they might be struggling to do all next season.
The 38-year-old 16-year NHL veteran was essentially shoved out the door as soon as he was able to leave for unrestricted free agency. A process that he has already been through multiple times before, but before he was heading to Ottawa on a one-year, $3.5-million deal, Hainsey provided the Leafs with something very important the last couple of seasons.
It could be said that his leadership, and all that intangible attributes that your uncle loves to bring up whenever you try to talk about William Nylander, helped the Leafs go from a rebuilding team trying to find their space in the NHL landscape to a team that is generally feared for its high-powered offence.
An offence that played a major role in bringing the Leafs to where they are today. Highly-touted prospects drafted in the top-10 and the best free agent to hit the open market in the modern identity of this sport — they all contributed to getting this team to the postseason.
Author: Thomas Williams / The Leafs Nation