The Toronto Maple Leafs played their last game with just five defensemen.
Even for a blue-line as bad as Jake McCabe has played for the Toronto Maple Leafs this year, it’s not good to lose a player for the entire game, and he played only about ten seconds against Dallas.
In a subsequent move the Leafs sent Fraser Minten down earlier than expected. True, he hadn’t played for three games, but he was far from the team’s worst player when he did, and given that the team hadn’t exactly been playing too well (despite the victories) it looked like he would get another few games before being sent down, at least.
Unfortunately, a lack of players eligible to go to the AHL without clearing waivers, and a very tight salary cap situation made that impossible.
So in order to replace Jake McCabe, the Leafs sent Minten back to junior and recalled William Lagesson. If you are asking yourself who that is, I’ll tell you.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Just Who Is William Lagesson?
Lagesson is a defenseman who is 27 years old, shoots left, is known for being physical, and who was born in 1996.
He was drafted in the 4th round of the 2014 NHL Entry draft by the Edmonton Oilers.
He played 57 games for them, and 3 for the Montreal Canadiens.
He does not have a goal, and has only seven assists in 60 games.
He last played in the NHL in the 2021-22 season.
He has cool long hair – at least in his hockey DB pic – and has played five games for the Toronto Marlies so far this season.
The Leafs don’t have many options, and they can’t go with Topi Niemela to replace McCabe because McCabe was their only physical defender. Lagesson should help in that department, but I wouldn’t expect to much from him otherwise.
If the Leafs partner him with John Klingberg – which they almost have to because Liljegren has been excellent this year in the top four – that means that they will likely get destroyed, even in 3rd pairing minutes.
If the Leafs elect to pair him with Liljegren they can probably win their minutes, but then that means a Giordano/Klingberg pairing against top competition.
I don’t like any of these options and I doubt the Toronto Maple Leafs do either. Which is why one assumes that Brad Treliving is working the phones like a certified hype-beast to bring in a quality defender to help the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Because, even if McCabe isn’t out long, clearly this team lacks both high-end talent and depth on the blueline. Good luck fixing that in October, but at this point anything would help.