Wednesday, 7 December 2016

From Bozak to WHOA!-zak

Now that's a helluva goal! Tyler Bozak scored his sixth goal of the season with that fantastic move around Matt Dumba. It's hard to be negative towards a guy who seems to be having a career year without Phil Kessel beside him, but the Leafs centerman is looking like he might be coming into his own as an NHL scoring threat.

As a 30 year-old and the longest-serving Maple Leaf currently, he's certainly one of the "graybeards" on a youthful Leafs squad this season. The former University of Denver product enters his eighth full season this year, and he knows he has a leadership role to play with the kids in the room.

"I always want to be a leader and it was the same last year, especially near the end of the season," Bozak told Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun earlier this year. "They make me feel old sometimes, but it's fun, the energy they bring, and always have a smile on their face at the rink. There is no bad days with the young guys, so they are fun to be around."

It appears that youthful exuberance is paying off for Bozak as he turned back the clock with that goal, looking every bit the part of a flashy 20 year-old rookie! If he does have a career year this season, it might be time for Toronto to look at what they do with him next season when his contract expires. He's doing everything that the coaching staff asks of him, he's scoring goals, and he's mentoring the next wave of great Maple Leafs stars. While some may say his current contract was too high, he's living up to those expectations this season.

Sometimes, it takes some major changes for a younger player to mature. With the tear-down and youth infusion on the Leafs, Tyler Bozak suddenly found himself in a different role on a team where he was once surrounded by veteran NHL players. From the way he's been carrying himself this season, it looks like a lot of the lessons passed on to him from those veteran players are beginning to bubble to the surface as Bozak leads the Matthews and Marners into the brave, new NHL world!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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