Forward Phil Kessel has high hopes for Maple Leafs

Nikko Villanueva – 4E Sports Contributor

Toronto, ON, United States (4E Sports) – Toronto forward Phil Kessel is confident of his team’s chances next season after a bad finishing kick in 2013-14 left the Maple Leafs out of the playoffs.

The Leafs struggled late last season dropping 12 of their last 14 games.

The team settled for 12th place in the Eastern Conference, ending their playoff hopes.

But after the moves the Leafs made in the offseason, Kessel believes they are contenders for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“I think we had a good team,” Kessel stated.

The 26-year-old believes they don’t have that bad stretch that plunged them down the standings.

Kessel added, “We don’t have that stretch, we’re right in it.”

Toronto started the retooling process by hiring Brendan Shanahan as team president.

Coach Randy Carlyle’s staff also welcomed Peter Horachek and Steve Spott as assistant coaches.

The Leafs acquired defensemen Stephane Robidas and Roman Polak and forwards David Booth, Petri Kontiola, Daniel Winnik and Mike Santorelli.

Leo Komarov and Matt Frattin serve as key returnees for the team.

“This year we made some good additions and I think we improved as a team, and we’re going to be ready to go,” the right wing said.

Kessel led the Leafs in scoring last season with 37 goals and 80 points.

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