A Deep Dive Into How the Toronto Maple Leafs Top-Pairing Did Without Rielly

A statistical analysis of how Timothy Lijegren has played on the Top Pairing

Feb 10, 2024; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Timothy Liljegren (37) skates
Feb 10, 2024; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Timothy Liljegren (37) skates / Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
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Game 1 vs St. Louis

The Toronto Maple Leafs had one of their best games against the St. Louis Blues in the first of two meetings this past week. The Leafs won 4-1 despite dressing an improbably bad blue-line - at least on paper.

What actually transpired was nothing like anyone expected.

The Leafs new top pairing was very good in their first game together. Brodie played over 20 5v5 minutes, while Liljegren played 18. (stats naturalstattrick.com)l.

With Liljegren on the ice, the Leafs had 58% puck-possession and 60% of the shots.

Goals were even, scoring chances were 57% in the Leafs favor, and his Expected Goals rating was 67%.

He finished the game with one shot, no points, and 37 seconds of PP time, but no PK time.

Overall, this was a fabulous game for Timothy Liljegren. This is a player who has been scratched in each of the last two playoff seasons, despite putting up numbers that are extremely good for a 3rd pairing NHL defenseman.

This is a guy who has been, even recently, passed over, demoted and treated like the coach doesn't trust him.

And about seven years after being drafted he finally gets a shot at the top of the lineup and has an absolutely excellent game. You couldn't ask for more from him.