3 Takeaways from the Toronto Maple Leafs First 5 Games

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 13: John Tavares #91 of the Toronto Maple Leafs waits for a puck against the Montreal Canadiens during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on January 13, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Canadiens 5-4 in overtime. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 13: John Tavares #91 of the Toronto Maple Leafs waits for a puck against the Montreal Canadiens during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on January 13, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Canadiens 5-4 in overtime. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
OTTAWA, ON – JANUARY 15: TJ Brodie #78 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on January 15, 2021 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images) /

1. Better Defensively

Something that has always been a major thorn in the Toronto Maple Leafs game is defense and how inconsistent it has been for  years now. This off-season Kyle Dubas and staff went out and paid money for someone who will definitely help out the top four when they brought in TJ Brodie.

Brodie, who has been paired up with  Morgan Rielly, immediately upgrades the team’s defense and also helps elevate Rielly’s game and gives us hope that he can maybe get back to his 2018-19 self where he was an offensive beast putting up 20 goals and 72 points in 82 games.

Other than the signing of Brodie we saw the Leafs go out and sign Stanley Cup champion and noted physical guy Zach Bogosian, as well as signing the KHL Defensemen of the Year, back in May of 2020 in Mikko Lehtonen. These three notable additions on the defense all bring something different and can all benefit the Maple Leafs going forward this 2021 season.

Brodie who by far out of all three new additions to the team brings the best defensive awareness and can not only help out the team’s overall defense, but he helps out Rielly’s gameplay as well. Bogosian who is more on the tough side of things when it comes to the backend brings physicality and the urge to hit and fight people when necessary.

He may not be up to Brodie’s level when it comes to playing defense but he isn’t all that bad either. His first game was rough, and he hasn’t been  putting up great on-ice stats, but he is bringing a different look to the team that they are otherwise missing, so that alone is helpful.

Lastly, Lehtonen, Mikko who was brought from overseas brings an element that is always welcomed on every hockey team, and it’s the ability to move with the puck. He brings his puck-moving ability to the team and can also play a relatively fair two-way game but obviously isn’t going to be looked upon to log heavy minutes on the backend anyway. He can quarterback the second power-play unit and see some offensive zone starts which will all help his game as he transitions into the NHL from the KHL.

The Early Returns on New Players. dark. Next

Through five games, the Leafs probably deserve to have a better record than they do, but it’s been a generally strong start to the season.