After joining his new team on the road, new Maple Leafs forward Sam Lafferty discussed his reaction to the trade and what he can bring to the team’s lineup down the stretch and into the playoffs.
What was your initial reaction to the trade?
Lafferty: I knew a trade was going to happen. When I found out it was Toronto, it was mostly excitement.
I loved my time in Chicago, but to come to a team like this and an organization like this with what they have built here, hopefully, we will win a lot of games.
What was it like in those final days in Chicago with all of the uncertainty about who might be going where? Was it something you were talking about much?
Lafferty: We talked about it a little bit. It is out of your control. You try to just play and enjoy the time you have left together, at the end of the day. We had a good group of guys in Chicago. We worked really hard. I am going to miss those guys for sure.
What do you think you can bring?
Lafferty: Speed, energy, some physicality, penalty killing… Just whatever is asked of me, I hope I can help the team.
What stands out to you the most about the Leafs team you are joining?
Lafferty: Just playing winning hockey. The culture they have here, you can tell right away that it is a winning culture. It is a lot of fun to be a part of.
What made it instantly obvious it is a winning culture?
Lafferty: It is just all business. The way we practice… It is just a feeling I get. They have had a lot of success. I want to help them with that.
Do you think your game is well-suited to the playoffs?
Lafferty: I think so. When it gets physical, that’s when I tend to play my best. I am excited for it.
What have your conversations been like with Kyle Dubas and Sheldon Keefe on your first day?
Lafferty: They don’t overload us with too much stuff. We just went over some systems. They want us to get comfortable, play to our strengths, and play hockey. That’s really it.
What do you think of the line you are on with Alex Kerfoot and Noel Acciari?
Lafferty: We bring some energy and bring some skill and physicality. We have a mix of a little bit of everything on that line. I am really excited for it.
What has sparked the offense for you this year with the career highs across the board?
Lafferty: A little more opportunity and just getting a little bit more confidence go a long way.
What are the Leafs getting in Jake McCabe?
Lafferty: You are getting a great teammate and a guy that is going to block every shift. He plays really hard every night. He is good with the puck and really good on the breakout. I really enjoy playing with “Caber.”
He has an edge to his game. He finishes his checks. He is really hard to play against. He kind of does it all, to be honest.