LAS VEGAS -- Ex-Toronto goalie Curtis Joseph is intrigued by the direction the Maple Leafs are taking this season, but he said he still believes they lack the superstar power that will put them among the elite teams in the Eastern Conference.
"It used to be that in order to be an elite team you needed superstars. Now in order to make the playoffs you have to have superstars, and you want one at every position if possible," Joseph told NHL.com Thursday from Wayne Gretzky's Fantasy Camp. "I think the Leafs have lacked superstars since Mats (Sundin) has been gone."
Joseph said a guy like Columbus captain Rick Nash is exactly the type of player the Leafs need. He used Nash as an example because of the recent trade rumors involving his name and the Maple Leafs.
"If they could do that, whatever they package up to get him, that would be huge for them because Nash is a superstar," Joseph said. "It's just like batting orders, you want your third, fourth and fifth guys to protect each other. (Phil) Kessel and (Joffrey) Lupul need a little protection."
Joseph, though, did have high praise for Phil Kessel, saying he has superstar qualities.
"That guy has got unbelievable skill and he's just starting to realize that he's in that tax bracket so to speak," Joseph said. "But, to be a superstar you have to think like a superstar, carry the weight, carry the team. Now he's got to get 40 goals and get others to hit 30."
But, even without the so-called superstar power, Joseph senses his old team is in a good spot and should only get better. He likes what he is seeing from goalies James Reimer and Jonas Gustavsson.
"I think Reimer is going to be a good No. 1. The Monster, it seems like he likes that No. 2 role and he's flourishing with it," Joseph said. "They may have something with 1 and 1A, which is OK. If you can have a 1 and 1A and they both play well, that's great. If you have a B and a 2B, that's not good. So, it looks good, but they have to push each other."
The key, though, is making the playoffs this season. Joseph has been in the market long enough to know patience is wearing thin among the fans.
"The fans are really hungry," he said. "If you're a playoff contender then you're a Cup contender, so they need to be that. It looks like they can be this year. I think they're getting that chemistry and winning breeds chemistry, but I think they're still missing a superstar or two."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl