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 4 vs St. Louis

Against the Blues for the second time, the Toronto Maple Leafs were able to win their fourth game in a row with Liljegren on the top pairing. That in itself is an accomplishment, but his overall play has been fantastic and completely paints the team's blue-line in a different light.

Against the Blues Liljegren played 18 5v5 minutes, and had a Puck Possession rating of 65%. He also played two minutes on the PP and an additional two minutes on the PK.

The shots were 14-1 when Liljegren was on the ice at 5v5. The chances were 9-3 Leafs (75%) and overall with Liljegren on the ice the Leafs had an 86% Expected Goals percentage.

That is an extremely dominant game, and the Leafs should be extremely happy with the way Liljegren played overall.

So far during Rielly's absence, Liljegren has five points, all assists, two of them at 5v5, three of the primary, and one on a game winning goal in overtime.

The Leafs won all four games, while playing Liljegren on their top pairing and using him on the power-play and the penalty-kill.

He averaged 18 minutes of 5v5 ice-time per game, while playing only a total of six minutes overall less than TJ Brodie, who led the team in ice-time without Rielly. Overall, Liljegren averaged 22:16 over the last four games.

With Liljegren on their top pairing, they had 52% puck-possession and 59% of the shots. Scoring chances were even (but remember, in the Flyers game they were slaughtered and the Ducks game was a blow-out) and high danger scoring chances were in the Leafs favor with 61%.

They outscored the opposition 6-3, which is pretty good considering Leafs goalies failed to post a .900 save percentage when he was on the ice over these last four games.

The expected goals rating was 50.21%, which is better than it seems when you consider how bad it was in the Flyers game, and how unusable the stats from the Anaheim game were due to it being a blow-out.

In the full context of everything I've written here over these past four games, I think the Toronto Maple Leafs should be extremely happy with the way Timothy Liljegren has played during his promotion. When Rielly comes back, Brodie should move to the third pairing and stay on the left side.

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Timothy Liljegren should become the Leafs new top-pairing right-side defender. He earned it.