Luke Schenn Speaks On the Leafs Stanley Cup Chances This Year

David Macintyre
September 16, 2023  (5:34 PM)


Can the Leafs Get the Job Done?

After getting drafted fifth overall by the Leafs in 2008, and having a rollercoaster of a career since then, Luke Schenn looked good during his second tour of duty in Toronto. Now, the current Nashville Predators defenseman has revealed how far he thinks the Leafs can go this season.
Speaking in an interview with The Athletic's Jonas Siegel, Schenn has this to say about the team's odds for playoff success going into the 2023-24 campaign:
«Well, I'm a big believer in — I think they've got a great culture there. And I think that the guys that they're building around are only getting better, and those experiences only help. You look at Tampa when they won. They lost out in the playoffs a bunch of times — in the finals, in the semifinals, in the first round — and eventually they got over the hump. You need the experience to eventually get there.»

Better Positioned Than Ever, in Schenn's Eyes

Schenn also heaped praise upon some of the Leafs' key players in the same response, specifically their big four forward core and fellow blueliner Morgan Rielly:
«Auston Matthews is a total pro. Mitch Marner, I know he takes heat at times, but he puts up 100 points, plays at both ends. I'd put him on my team all day. He's an unbelievable guy. Morgan Rielly, he's a true No. 1 (defenceman). You've got (William) Nylander. You've got John Tavares. He's a great captain and puts in the work; like, it's an unmatched sort of thing. So they got all the right pieces and they've got some good depth guys, too. It's obviously a tough market, but the guys in the room, they want it more or as much as anyone in the league. They obviously have a great group of guys there, and I was impressed with the culture that they've built there since my first go around.»

Having won two straight Cups as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Schenn is speaking from experience when he talks about his former Leafs teammates. Given he'd been in the locker room day in and day out with guys like Matthews and Marner (two players whose postseason performances have come under much scrutiny in Toronto over the years), he also speaks from a position of authority.
If nothing else, it's certainly a step up from the Leafs' core Schenn entered the league with in 2008, when their top-scoring forwards included Jason Blake, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Matt Stajan, Mikhail Grabovski, Nik Antropov and Niklas Hagman, with Vesa Toskala between the pipes. Yeesh!