Finally, we have former first round draft pick from the 2017 NHL Entry Draft Timothy Liljegren. Once compared to fellow countryman and superstar Erik Karlsson with regards to his skills and abilities, Liljegren has yet to have his breakout season with the Leafs so far, until probably now.
In the years past, he usually found himself further down on the defensive depth chart on the Toronto Maple Leafs roster. This was due to the presence of many veterans on the roster, in addition to Rasmus Sandin, who had jumped ahead of him in recent years.
However, now with Sandin gone, Jake Muzzin on LTIR and probably heading towards retirement, and the slowing down of both Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie, the opportunity for Liljegren to move to the next level has finally arrived.
After being a good understudy of Giordano for the past couple of years, Liljegren has grown a lot in both his offensive and defensive game. Being able to carry a positive CF% with whoever he plays with prior to last season is starting to become one of his strengths, along with becoming stronger on the puck when carrying possession.
He may begin the season on the third pairing, but with Giordano most likely getting more rest this year, look for Liljegren to potentially get top-pairing minutes alongside Morgan Rielly. In doing so, he will have all the opportunity to produce a career year for 2023-24.
Overall, regardless of how many players may have breakout years this season for the team, the Toonto Maple Leafs should once again be a competitive team for 2023-24, as they look to avenge last season’s second round loss in the playoffs by hopefully making it further this time around.