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Chicago Blackhawks-Maple Leafs Comparison Can Grow In 2017-18

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Jan 2, 2016; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23) and Edmonton Oilers left wing Taylor Hall (4) battle for the puck during the overtime period at Rexall Place. Edmonton Oilers won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 2, 2016; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23) and Edmonton Oilers left wing Taylor Hall (4) battle for the puck during the overtime period at Rexall Place. Edmonton Oilers won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 23, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs fans cheer during the game against the Washington Capitals in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Air Canada Centre. The Capitals beat the Maple Leafs 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 23, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs fans cheer during the game against the Washington Capitals in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Air Canada Centre. The Capitals beat the Maple Leafs 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Toronto Maple Leafs could be the next Chicago Blackhawks if they added a No. 1 defenseman. Their man might be the Arizona Coyotes’ Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

With the Chicago Blackhawks being eliminated so early from his year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s been tough to find satisfaction in playoff hockey.  It’s very clear the NHL is a “young man’s game” now more than ever with the emergence of teenage stars like Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews.

Once upon a time, the Blackhawks were this young squad of hungry pups playing for the love of the game instead of contracts, vacations and fancy cars.  I’m not saying the Blackhawks are spoiled or that their hearts aren’t in it anymore, but you can’t see and feel the team’s future like that of Matthews’ Toronto Maple Leafs.

Nobody thought the Leafs were ready for a playoff run this season, yet they made it.  They also put up a good fight against the Eastern Conference favorite, the Washington Capitals. General manager Lou Lamoriello has done a great job hitting on first-round talent, and coach Mike Babcock has done an even better job developing the young players.

Next we’ll discuss why the Leafs are ready to win and how they’re going to do it starting this summer, moving them closer to being the next Chicago Blackhawks.

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