This off-season, there are changes coming for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Maybe not “blow it up” changes like some would hope but changes nonetheless.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are going to keep their coach, GM and President, as well as Morgan Rielly, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander.
They just re-signed Mark Giordano, but everyone else’s return is up in the air.
The Leafs need to make some changes – some cap related, some out of necessity.
One area of change should be Morgan Rielly’s partner, who was Ilya Lyubushkin when the season ended. As much as Ilya Lyubushkin had many supporters, he clearly lacked something when partnering with Rielly. It was evident that his foot speed and mobility was lacking, combined with his offensive abilities or lack-thereof.
This lack of cohesion lead to the Rielly-Lyubushkin pairing sitting 21st out of 29 pairings that played over 60 minutes in expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60). However, they were 10th out of that same 29 in expected goals for per 60 minutes. In terms of actual production, they didn’t fair much better. In GF/60 they were 17th out of 29 and 21st out of 29 in GA/60.
These numbers clearly aren’t the worst but it would be nice to look for an upgrade at that position. Since Rielly isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, it’d be in Kyle Dubas’ best interest to make it work.
That brings me to the player I think the Toronto Maple Leafs should acquire this summer.