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 3 vs Anaheim

This game was a blowout, which means that the coach does all sorts of experiments and crazy matchups, and so does the other team's coach.

It also means that score effects are a factor (which basically just means teams stop trying when the lead is big, so you should take everything about the game's statistics with a grain of salt.

An example would be that even though it was 9-2 Leafs, the Ducks had the puck more than the Leafs did overall. However, in the first period, the Leafs had the puck for 70% of the time at 5v5 and ended the frame up 4-1. Game over.

This makes it hard to assess Liljegren's performance, which is already limited to just a tiny 4 game sample. He had a 44% puck-possession rating (Corsi), and his Expected Goals rating was just 41%.

But that said, the Leafs won his minutes 2 goals to 1, and he finished the game with three assists. It's obviosuly a good game, especially when you factor in the score-effects.

Liljegren played 16+ minutes 5v5, over 4 minutes on the PP and even a minute on the PK.

Overall, a very solid performance as the Leafs #2 on the top-pairing with TJ Brodie. And watching these games, I feel that Brodie is only the #1 by default due to sonority. If Rielly was out for longer than five games, I'm betting that by the ten game mark it's Liljegren leading the team in minutes and not Brodie.