3 Surprising Players That Will Make the Toronto Maple Leafs

Jan 25, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Pontus Holmberg (29) gestures as he celebrates with defenseman Justin Holl (3) after scoring a goal against the New York Rangers in the first period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 25, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Pontus Holmberg (29) gestures as he celebrates with defenseman Justin Holl (3) after scoring a goal against the New York Rangers in the first period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 13, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; LA Kings left wing Alex Iafallo (19) and Anaheim Ducks defenseman Simon Benoit (13) battle for the puck in the third period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 13, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; LA Kings left wing Alex Iafallo (19) and Anaheim Ducks defenseman Simon Benoit (13) battle for the puck in the third period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Simon Benoit

Simon Benoit was a free agent signing made by the Toronto Maple Leafs this past offseason to supposedly help provide depth to their defensive corps.

After all, they had a large exodus of defenseman, including Luke Schenn, Justin Holl, and Erik Gustafsson.

Benoit played for the Anaheim Ducks in the past three seasons, including becoming a full-time mainstay on their back end last season where he very well could have been the single worst player in the NHL.

In 78 games last year, Benoit recorded three goals and seven assists for 10 points.

But more importantly are his 60 PIM and 200+ hits that he registered over the course of the season. With the current Leafs defensive corps severely lacking some big-time toughness other than Jake McCabe, Benoit would provide that much-needed element of the game to help balance the Leafs puck-moving heavy lineup.

Although, if that element comes with the other team destroying the Leafs whenever he is on the ice, as will most likely be the case, it will not help much.

With current injuries to both John Klingberg and Conor Timmins, the opportunity has opened up for Benoit to grab a stranglehold of and run away with it.

Even though he began camp late due to a back injury, his prior NHL experience and potential intimidation factor gives him a leg up on most of his closest competition. As a result, look for Benoit securing a spot on the Leafs roster by this upcoming weekend.