Jake Muzzin’s departure from the Leafs lineup creates opportunities for Sandin and Liljegren

Jake Muzzin is out for the foreseeable future due to a concussion, which doesn’t bode well for the Maple Leafs.
The 32-year-old has been one of Toronto’s best defencemen in the last two years, up until this season where he’s struggled.
Since the beginning of this season, Muzzin hasn’t seemed himself.
It might be because of age. As a player, at 32-years-old, your body starts to slow down — mentally and physically. Muzzin has also endured a lot of physical battles throughout his career, whether it be injuries or just bumps along the road.
Diving into the numbers part, here’s how his last two seasons have compared to each other.
                  Muzzin’s 2020-21 season                                      Muzzin’s 2021-22 season

As you can see, Muzzin’s numbers have dropped significantly compared to last season. Looking at last year, the 32-year-old presented a lot of positives at both even strength and the power play. This season, Muzzin has struggled in almost every regard, only having a positive GF/60 and CF/60 at even strength.
There’s no timeline for a return after Muzzin suffered a concussion vs. St. Louis on Saturday night. It’s unfortunate that he’s out, especially with a concussion, but this break will give him time to heal any wounds he may have suffered this season.
“I think in a lot of ways,” said Mitch Marner when asked about where the Maple Leafs miss Muzzin most. “[Muzzin] brings a lot of things to this team, kind of the same as me. I’m an energizer. He’s a big guy that does a lot for us on the ice — blocking shots, throwing his body around. Penalty-kill wise, he’s one of the best in the league with his stick and reading plays, and reading the ice. We miss him in a lot of ways out there. He’s got great leadership on that bench as well. He’s obviously done some amazing things in his career, so we miss him in a lot of ways, but a head’s no joke. We gotta make sure when he’s coming back, he’s fully ready to go. We don’t need anything hurting him in the future, or even past hockey. He’s got a family and kids, and stuff like that. There’s more important things than trying to battle through stuff like that.”
Marner makes a good point in not rushing Muzzin back. Concussions are scary and can affect your brain in many different ways. He has a family and a long life after the game of hockey.
You’ll risk a hell of a lot if yo …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

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