Maple Leafs’ Babcock: Hyman, Soshnikov are ‘real players’

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock talks about the annual outdoor game and the play of the young Maple Leafs call ups.

There is plenty of optimism surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs, despite having the worst record in the NHL.

The team has won just two of their last 10 games, but a pair of young forward prospects has caught the attention of head coach Mike Babcock

“(Zack) Hyman and (Nikita Soshnikov) are here to stay,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said in a scrum with local reporters after a 4-3 shootout win over the New York Islanders on Wednesday. “They’re real players. They’re going to play. They’re just too good, too hard, and too fast with too much work ethic so those guys will play.”

Hyman logged 15:10 minutes of ice time Wednesday night and scored his second goal of the season while Soshnikov netted the lone goal of the shootout to seal the win over the Islanders.

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Otherwise, Babcock was pleased with the development of 2014 first-round pick William Nylander.

“I thought this was Nylander’s best game by a mile," Babcock said. "It was his most competitive game. It was the first time he skated since he’s been here. Obviously he’s a huge talent.”

Toronto next takes the ice Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators.