No. 3: Defense is Huge Issue
We knew this would be a huge issue before the season started and things are going as planned. In three games, the team has allowed 13 goals.
The Toronto Maple Leafs blue-line was always going to be problematic since they have no elite players and barely any depth. (Connor Timmins and Simon Benoit do not constitute “depth” in any way, shape or form for a contending team).
They’ve been able to outscore their issues, but it’s pretty easy to see that John Klingberg is an issue.
Klingberg is good on the power-play, but he is often hemmed in his own zone 5v5. He can’t defend to save his life, and the team struggles whenever he plays.
Not only has Klingberg been terrible, but so has Jake McCabe, as the two players have had a xGF percentage under 40 percent, despite playing on the second-pairing. Toronto’s goaltending hasn’t helped much, but overall these two defenseman have been awful.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are a very good hockey team but they clearly need defensive-help. Matthews could end up scoring 80 goals this year and it won’t be enough until they tighten things up.
I’m not going to kick and scream until the NHL Trade Deadline passes, but let’s hope that Brad Treliving can work his magic and trade for a top-pairing defenseman by year’s end, or this team won’t make it past the First Round.