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Maple Leafs Defence, Goaltender Grades: Creating a new identity

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Toronto Maple Leafs forwards were graded for the second 10-game segment of the season. Generally, there was improvement from the first 10 games but there is still room for it to get better.

Now it’s time to look at the defence. The Maple Leafs have relied on a group of seven defencemen.

In the past 10 games, they have allowed 55.4 shot attempts against per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 play, which ranks 18th. They have 2.11 expected goals against per 60 in that time, which ranks seventh. Mix in some top-tier goaltending, though, and the Maple Leafs have allowed 1.68 goals per 60 minutes during 5-on-5 play, which ranks fourth over the period of these 10 games.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS PLAYER GRADES – DEFENCEMEN

Morgan Rielly (3 G, 4 A, 21 SOG, 51.1 CF%, 50.8 xGF%, 10 GP)

Early in the season, Rielly’s offensive production – as well as other Maple Leafs defencemen – was lagging a bit but he started to put the puck in the net his offensive contributions are needed.

Grade: B+

Previous Grade: B

Rasmus Sandin (0 G, 1 A, 9 SOG, 55.5 CF%, 61.6 xGF%, 9 GP)

Not quite as outstanding as he was in the first 10 games but still, a third pair defenceman who is rocking better than 60% of expected goals? That’ll play.

Grade: B

Previous Grade: B+

Timothy Liljegren (0 G, 0 A, 11 SOG, 52.2 CF%, 59.6 xGF%, 8 GP)

It has taken some time, but Liljegren has made positive strides forward this season and his results to this point should warrant a regular spot on the blueline. That may not happen, given Toronto’s personnel, but knowing that Liljegren can handle the responsibility now gives the Maple Leafs more options.

Grade: B

Previous Grade: B

T.J. Brodie (0 G, 0 A, 1 SOG, 49.6 CF%, 52.9 xGF%, 10 GP)

A steady veteran defender, Brodie can get more involved offensively. Like, more than one shot on goal in 10 games is not asking for much.

Grade: B-

Previous Grade: B

Jake Muzzin (0 G, 3 A, 9 SOG, 50.5 CF%, 55.8 xGF%, 10 GP)

It still does not look like Muzzin is in peak form quite as often as the team would like but he has been better as the season has progressed.

Grade: B-

Previous Grade: C-

Justin Holl (0 G, 0 A, 3 SOG, 52.7 CF%, 59.4 xGF%, 7 GP)

Emerged from getting healthy scratched for five straight games and has played notably better since. Still room to make better decisions with the puck but Holl’s play in the second 10-game segment has been dramatically better than the first 10-game window.

Grade: B-

Previous Grade: D

Travis Dermott (0 G, 0 A, 1 SOG, 44.7 CF%, 46.0 xGF%, 6 GP)

His name popped up in trade rumours early in the season and maybe that affected his play, or maybe moving up to play with Morgan Rielly for a few games was too much, but Dermott has hit a bit of a rough patch.

Grade: C

Previous Grade: B-

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS PLAYER GRADES – GOALTENDERS

Jack Campbell (6-2, .955 SV%, 8 GP)

Campbell started the season playing at a high level and even though he has needed to play more than expected because of Mrazek’s injury, Campbell has responded to the challenge. He has been a huge part of Toronto’s recent success.

Grade: A+

Previous Grade: A-

Joseph Woll (2-0, .915 SV%, 2 GP)

The Maple Leafs had to give someone a chance to start the second half of back-to-back games while Mrazek is out and Woll was given the chance. He has started just two games but early returns are positive.

Grade: B

Previous Grade: N/A

Petr Mrazek (0 GP)

The Maple Leafs have not had the goaltending tandem that they were expecting this season, so there is not much to say about Mrazek until he gets healthy enough to play. Grade: Incomplete

Stats via Natural Stat Trick.

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