After signing a two-year, $2.5 million AAV contract with the Maple Leafs, goaltender Anthony Stolarz discussed his decision to sign in Toronto and the whirlwind turnaround from winning the Cup in Florida to joining Toronto in free agency.

Can you walk us through the highs of winning the Cup and the parade, followed by the business side of coming to terms with the Maple Leafs?

Stolarz: Everything happened so fast. We won, and there are a couple of days when you hang out with the guys. Because of the draft, the parade was pushed to Sunday. Free agency opens on Monday. It was a pretty quick turnaround to have to go from being in Florida to picking a team in a quick 24 hours there.

What was the process of exploring free agency like with such a fast turnaround?

Stolarz: Going from the parade, you are riding a nice high and celebrating with your teammates. You are getting texts saying this team or that team is interested. I didn’t find out until Monday morning. Early on, my agent gave me a call and said, “We are going to do this. How do you feel about it?”

I was super confident and super happy. I am just looking forward to getting to Toronto and getting the ball rolling.

Was there enough time to talk to your teammates at all or was it so quick that you were just making the decision?

Stolarz: It was so quick. I’d imagine a lot of guys were hungover that morning after the parade. For me, it was about what was best for my family and me.

I loved the opportunity that Toronto gave me and everything they sold me. I am looking forward to getting there and doing great things for this organization.

What kind of shape are you in after the last week with the parade? How are the mind and body feeling? 

Stolarz: I’ve been catching up on some sleep these last few days. Over the duration of the playoffs, we had a workout regimen. I wasn’t playing, so the goalie coach down in Florida had to keep me in shape. We’d do a lot of stuff after practice with the strength and conditioning staff down in Florida. I don’t feel like I am too far behind in terms of the summer training compared to where I would usually be.

I will be getting started here coming up in the next week after the fourth of July weekend. We’ll get back to business.

What are you going to do for your day with the Stanley Cup?

Stolarz: I haven’t even decided that. I just got home late last night. They are making the schedule right now. I have to see what day I get it—what day of the week.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be sending out emails with some feelers on venues. I’ll take it back to my hometown — maybe to a rink in Jersey somewhere — and share it with the people who got me here.

Why was the fit right, and what does it feel like to be coming to Toronto?

Stolarz: I am super excited. It is a historic organization. I know a few of the guys on the team already. The transition will be nice.

There is an opportunity, I felt. In Florida, I knew my role as a backup. Now, Woller and I are going to be competing for starts. As a goalie, that is all you can ask for.

Who do you know on the Leafs‘ roster already, and what is your relationship like with them?

Stolarz: I know Dakota Mermis and Max Domi from my days playing in London. I know Jani Hakanpaa and Simon Benoit — I played with them in San Diego a few years back.

How does it feel to get a chance to compete for starts again?

Stolarz: Super excited. That’s what you want as a goalie. Only one of us can play. You want to get as many starts as you can. When my name is called, I am going to go in and try to seize the opportunity. At the same time, I pride myself on being a good teammate. I am going to support Woller and push him throughout the year.

What worked well for you last season? What were you most proud of?

Stolarz: Just the way I was able to come into tight situations — the second half of back-to-backs with a travel day — and play well and give the team a chance to win. We all want to put up zeros, ones, and twos, but at the end of the day, you are going to have those games where you have to win 5-4 or 4-3.

Especially playing in Florida last year, we knew we had a good offense. We could always rally. You could never count us out of a game. We had a few third-period comebacks last year. For me, it was about being able to stick in there and focus on the next save.

What were you able to learn from Sergei Bobrovsky in Florida? Did you incorporate anything from him into your own game? How did being around him make you a better goalie?

Stolarz: He was a great teammate and a true professional. Watching his work ethic is the biggest thing I am going to take away from him. I like to pride myself on working hard, but he went above and beyond — getting out early, staying late after practice, doing lifts, doing his stretching and his routines. He was always consistent when it came to that.

He was one hell of a teammate. I am going to miss him. At the end of the day, he is on the dark side now. I am looking forward to playing against him next year.

Toronto is a unique market. How would you assess your ability to deal with the microscope?

Stolarz: I think I will be able to handle it just fine. I am a pretty laid-back guy. At the end of the day, there are 64 NHL goalies. There is never a doubt in my ability. I know I am one of the best in the world. I am looking forward to the opportunity. I am excited.

I have heard nothing but good things about the fan base. It is a very hungry and passionate fan base. I am looking forward to getting to Toronto, meeting everyone, and getting going.

What has stood out about this Leafs team, having watched them as an opponent?

Stolarz: They are a high-powered offense. Every time you looked up and down the lineup, they were always a threat to score. They have some of the best players in the world. I am looking forward to having those guys on my side.

What have you learned throughout your career that will prepare you for coming to Toronto?

Stolarz: To never take things for granted. It is a privilege to play in this league. Every time I step on your ice and look around at the chance to play in front of 20,000 fans, I smile about it every time. I just try to enjoy myself.

I love the competitive edge. I love winning games. Going to Florida, having that taste, and playing into April and May was a factor in signing in Toronto and joining a competitive team. That is what you want at the end of the day—to be the best—and I think going to the best hockey market in the world is a challenge for me. I am excited to get going.