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DUBAS SAYS LEAFS CORE GROUP HAS TO SACRIFICE A BIT FOR THE TEAM TO REACH FULL POTENTIAL

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas had a busy offseason bringing in new faces to address the team's needs and weaknesses, but he still believes that it will take some growth from the club's core members to reach its full potential.

"There's so much focus sometimes placed on bringing in one or two players and the impact that they can make, but the reality is if that level of competitiveness, and grit, and toughness is going to permeate through the locker room, it's going to be through the maturity of the group that's already here.", Dubas told TSN.

"Our core group is really embracing the fact that this is a wonderful opportunity. If they're willing to sacrifice a little bit in each of their own individual realms, as all young teams do, then we'll really reach our full potential."

Dubas brought in some much-needed grit and experience this fall with the free agency signings of Zach Bogosian and Wayne Simmonds while also acquiring Joe Thornton, who will be entering his 23rd NHL season when play returns and does not shy away from the tougher aspects of the game.

Despite entering the new season with a lineup that's significantly different than the one that took the ice for the qualifying round in August, Dubas ensured he's not looking for his club to alter the way they play drastically.



"When we talk about toughness with our group, it's very simple the way we define it," Dubas said. "If there's a 50-50 puck, do you desperately want to win that puck every single time? And are you willing to be the first one on the puck? Are you willing to go to the difficult areas of the ice with and without the puck to be successful?"

The Leafs finished the shortened 2019-20 season 8th in the Eastern Conference with 81 points (36-25-9) but were unable to find any real success in the postseason and were eliminated from Stanley Cup contention after losing their qualifying round match up to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The team has reached the postseason in each of the past four seasons but hasn't won a series since 2004.
JOSH VOLD
NOVEMBER 29, 2020  (11H23)
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