I remember at the end of January, during the early stretch of the Maple Leafs regular season, seeing a meme about Justin Holl in a reply to the Edmonton Oilers team Twitter account. The Maple Leafs had just beaten the Oilers 4-3 and were off to a blazing 7-2-0 start. The meme made me chuckle, as it read “Thank you for your contribution to Justin Holl’s 2021 Norris Trophy”. Justin Holl had just emerged from the ashes as a top 4 right-handed defenseman for the Maple Leafs, not only providing steady reliability on the back end, but outright winning matchups against the league’s premier players, notably Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl that very evening.
The story of Justin Holl’s ascent has been echoed ad nauseama amongst Maple Leafs fans, oftentimes as a jab at Mike Babcock, who famously scratched the Minnesota native for 71 games during the 18-19 campaign. Holl hung around nonetheless the year after, outlasting even Babcock, and eventually finding his way into the Leafs lineup as a regular beside Jake Muzzin for the Maple Leafs in their top four. The 19-20 season was a breakout campaign for Holl in many respects, as he ranked amongst the …
Author: Jori Negin-Shecter / The Leafs Nation