Mid-Season Grades For the Toronto Maple Leafs Defense

New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs / Chris Tanouye/GettyImages
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The Toronto Maple Leafs have had an up-and-down season to this point, despite Auston Matthews scoring goals at a 70-goal pace and William Nylander having a career campaign.  Fans of the team were looking for a big year after last season’s playoff breakthrough, yet the Leafs are in a battle simply to make the playoffs.

Much has been made of the Toronto Maple Leafs goaltending woes.  Joseph Woll has missed extensive time due to an ankle injury.  Ilya Samsonov played so poorly he cleared waivers and was sent to the AHL.  Martin Jones gets an A for effort, but he is clearly a stop-gap measure only.

The forwards also need to share some of the blame for the Leafs current position in the standings.  Although Matthews, Nylander and Mitch Marner have been carrying the team all season, John Tavares has regressed this season from his career point-per-game pace, with only 40 points to date in 51 games (stats from naturalstattrick.com).

Then we really see the lack of secondary scoring.  The next forward on the Toronto points list is Max Domi with a mere 27.  The team has been hoping for more out of guys such as Tyler Bertuzzi and Calle Jarnkrok, but so far it just hasn’t happened.

However, as I and many others have been writing since October, the Toronto Maple Leafs biggest weakness has been the defense corp.  Other than Morgan Rielly, who is having another fine season, the roster is full of players who really don’t belong in the top 4 D of an NHL roster.

Let’s dig a little deeper and talk about what each defenseman has done so far, what the future may hold for them, and finally, assign everyone a midseason grade for each player.