5 Maple Leafs players who must bring their A-Game following the All-Star Break

The Toronto Maple Leafs need a huge second half if they plan on embarking on a major run that will land them a top-three spot in the Atlantic.

Jan 20, 2024; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward John Tavares (91),
Jan 20, 2024; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward John Tavares (91), / Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
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Timothy Liljegren must keep bringing pressure

Timothy Liljegren missed a significant portion of the 2023-24 season, but upon his return, he’s doing his part to stabilize the blue line. Despite playing in just 30 games through the All-Star Break, Liljegren is constantly invading scoring lanes, and it’s resulted in 67 blocks this year. If you do the math, that’s 2.23 per game, and if he stays healthy, he will force opponents to stop and think before they shoot the puck around him. 

When he’s on the ice, Toronto is also better in the defensive zone, evidenced by an on-ice save percentage of 93.4 percent at 5-on-5 and just 15 total goals allowed in that situation, or a half-goal per game. While he hasn’t been much of a factor when the Maple Leafs have the puck, there is more than enough talent listed above to take care of the scoring and production in the offensive zone. 

The Maple Leafs must keep allowing Liljegren to play his game for the final one-third of the regular season. If he continues to shut down opponents, it will make their job much easier in the defensive zone, and create more opportunities for Toronto when they have the puck.

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)