Jake Muzzin to miss Maple Leafs weekend games, Erik Kallgren starts against Senators

Jake Muzzin will not be available to the Toronto Maple Leafs when the team visits the Ottawa Senators on Saturday and at home against the New York Islanders on Sunday.
”He was feeling good and played yesterday and I would say things flared up a little bit for him,” Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said following the team’s practice on Friday. “As a result he’s going to take some time here to just settle down a little bit and see how it responds from there.”
Muzzin returned to the lineup on Thursday after he sat out of the team’s 5-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. One day prior, Keefe indicated that Muzzin wasn’t quite feeling 100 per cent and the most recent injury was unrelated to the two concussions the veteran defenceman had sustained this season.
The 33-year-old has three goals and 11 assists in 45 games this season. He was limited to 15:52 of ice time, despite being situated on the team’s second defence pair alongside TJ Brodie.
With Muzzin out of the lineup, Justin Holl is expected to take his place and skated with Brodie on the second …

Read More

Author: David Alter / The Leafs Nation

Determining the optimal Leafs defensive pairings using WOWYs

Since the return of Jake Muzzin to the Leafs lineup it seems that the Leafs have been undergoing an attempt to optimize their blueline for the playoffs and with nine games remaining it’s likely we’ll see a number of unique pairings that haven’t been considered before a couple of dress rehearsals with the likely duos.
While there are flaws to WOWYs, some of which include minimal context and smaller sample sizes, I decided to take a look at what seems like they’d be the top 5v5 pairings moving forward for the Leafs. Starting with TJ Brodie, who plays the most 5v5 for the Leafs, I’ve paired the top minute defenders with their best statistical partner.
T.J. Brodie
With
TOI With
CA/60
CF% With
GA/60
GF% With
HDCA/60
HDCF% With
HDGA/60
HDGF% With
Morgan Rielly
794.63
53.16
52.24
2.49
54.17
11.93
48.87
1.81
44.19
Justin Holl
304.40
49.87
53.23
2.56
51.85
8.48
62.28
1.38
58.82
Jake Muzzin
127.67
53.58
56.82
2.82
40.00
11.28
56.36
1.41
25.00
Rasmus Sandin
33.67
74.85
40.00
3.56
33.33
12.48
30.00
3.56
0.00
Timothy Liljegren
25.97
43.90
53.66
2.31
66.67
13.86
45.45
2.31
0.00
Ilya Lyubushkin
14.23
80.09
45.71
0.00
100.00
21.08
28.57
0.00
100.00
Mark Giordano
10.22
46.98
57.89
0.00
100.00
11.75
33.33
0.00
100.00
Pair with Holl. The eye test has been awfully cruel to Justin Holl this season. At times it seems he’s facing the opposite direction, and at a complete loss for who to cover when playing in the high danger areas of the Leafs zone. Despite these negative perceptions of him, a number of the Leafs defensemen either played their best hockey with him on the ice with them, or close to it.
Holl’s WOWYs:
With
Position
TOI With
CA/60
CF% With
GA/60
GF% With
HDCA/60
HDCF% With
HDGA/60
HDGF% With
Jake Muzzin
D
449.70
59.37
50.11
3.34
41.86
11.21
54.35
1.60
47.83
TJ Brodie
D
304.40
49.87
53.23
2.56
51.85
8.48
62.28
1.38
58.82
Rasmus Sandin
D
132.80
52.86
52.44
1.81
66.67
9.49
58.82
1.36
57.14
Morgan Rielly
D
40.77
48.57
68.27
2.94
77.78
13.25
57.14
1.47
83.33
Mark Giordano
D
38.72
55.79
50.00
6.20
33.33
7.75
54.55
4.65
40.00
Maybe this Simpson’s quote applies to Justin Holl: “I think Smithers picked me because of my motivational skills. Everyone says they have to work a lot harder when I’m around.”
Whatever the reason, playing Holl with Brodie makes sense, and it’s not surprising that Keefe had been trying that more and more prior to the return of Jake Muzzin.
Morgan Rielly
With
TOI With
CA/60
CF% With
GA/60
GF% With
HDCA/60
HDCF% With
HDGA/60
HDGF% With
TJ Brodie
794.63
53.16
52.24
2.49
54.17
11.93
48.87
1.81
44.19
Ilya Lyubushkin
172.50
56.35
51.35
3.13
50.00
9.74
58.21
1.04
50.00
Timothy Liljegren
130.15
55.32
59.60 …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Mark Giordano’s versatility on the back end should help the Maple Leafs when Jake Muzzin is ready to return

TAMPA, Fla. — Jake Muzzin will miss his 20th consecutive game with a concussion when the Toronto Maple Leafs host the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the veteran defenceman will likely return to the lineup either against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday or Dallas Stars on Thursday.
“We’re somewhere in that neighbourhood and we’ll see how it progresses,”  Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said following the team’s practice at Amalie Arena on Sunday.
The Maple Leafs brought Muzzin along for the team’s four-game road trip with the intent of getting him back into the lineup. The 33-year-old sustained his second concussion of the season when he was involved in an awkward collision with Montreal Canadiens defenceman Chris Wideman on Feb. 21.
Muzzin practised without a red non-contact jersey for the second time since the club ramped up his conditioning this past week. Now it’s just a matter of where the veteran slots when he does make his return.
The physical defenceman has exclusively skated on the team’s second pair this season with a rotation of different defensive partners. But with the recent upgrades on the back end, highlighted by the acquisition of Mark Giordano on Mar. 20, finding the right spot for Muzzin may be correlated with how well Giordano …

Read More

Author: David Alter / The Leafs Nation

Jake Muzzin feels good as he nears a return to the Maple Leafs’ lineup following second concussion

Jake Muzzin has had a lot of time to reflect on his life following the two concussions he’s had in 2022.
“You’re always thinking about your health and what’s really important,” Muzzin said. “But I feel good.”
Speaking to the media for the first time since enduring his second concussion of the season on Feb. 21 against the Montreal Canadiens, Muzzin said it wasn’t too difficult to wait this second concussion out, given how quickly it occurred after the first one.
“Obviously I want to be out there, I want to be out with the guys playing but there’s a lot more important things in life than just this great game,” Muzzin said. “But I still want to be a part of it, I still want to play and I’m working towards that.”
The Maple Leafs were understandably cautious when Muzzin was involved in a collision with Montreal defenceman Chris Wideman. But just four days after the incident, Muzzin showed signs of improvement and was in the right frame of mind to watch the tail end of the team’s practice.

Jake Muzzin is watching practice. #Leafs pic.twitter.com/N98dNAJ64c
— David Alter (@dalter) February 25, 2022

 
The Leafs placed Muzzin on the long-term injured reserve and there was speculation on whether the Leafs would use Muzzin’s $5.625 million salary-cap space to acquire other players at the NHL trade deadline.
Toronto elected not to go that route, as the veteran would be cold going into the postseason.
“It’s not going to be one of those things where we’re going to try to wait to have him come back in the playoffs,” Leafs GM Kyle Dubas said on Mar. 4. “The style …

Read More

Author: David Alter / The Leafs Nation

Jake Muzzin joins Maple Leafs for first team skate since second concussion

Jake Muzzin appears to be inching closer in his recovery from his second concussion this season.
The veteran defenceman took part in his first skate with the Maple Leafs since suffering his second concussion of the season on Feb. 21.

Muzzin has been skating on his own with skills coach Denver Manderson as they worked on ramping up his defenceman’s conditioning. The two worked together again before the Maple Leafs took the ice for their morning skate ahead of their game against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.
“It means a lot to our group in so many different ways,” Maple Leafs captain John Tavares said of seeing Muzzin on the ice. “I know I personally lean on him for a lot with our team on the leadership side of things and obviously the presence he brings in the room and on the ice and the style of game he plays.”
The 33-year-old collided with Montreal Canadiens defenceman Chris Wideman last month and was later diagnosed with his second concussion of the season. The incident occurred just over a month after he suffered his first one when he was hit along the end boards by St. Louis Blues forward Klim Kostin on Jan. 15.
Muzzin played six games before the incident in Montreal. He was placed …

Read More

Author: David Alter / The Leafs Nation

The Maple Leafs still unsure of what comes next for Jake Muzzin

Yesterday Sheldon Keefe provided a bit of a non-update on Jake Muzzin, which certainly fits with the uncertainty of the Leafs surrounding the trade deadline. Will Muzzin be returning? Will he be returning in a month? After the playoffs? Will the Leafs have his LTIR salary cap space to work with? No answers are forthcoming and it seems likely that there will be a lack of clarity right up until the trade deadline.

Sheldon Keefe didn’t have much of an update on Jake Muzzin, who spent approx. 40 getting worked hard conditioning-wise by #Leafs skills development coach Denver Manderson. pic.twitter.com/TRyLjXUvvb
— David Alter (@dalter) March 10, 2022

From Keefe:
“I don’t think the nature of his injury is something you can put a timeline on. It’s just really how he feels. The fact that he continues to skate and workout everyday, we’re really encouraged by. But in terms of time, that will be up to him and the medical team.”
So that’s not exactly concrete and if you take the Leafs at Dubas’ word, the Leafs will be functioning off the $2M of cap space they can muster through demotions to the Marlies rather than tapping into the $5.6M of relief the Leafs would receive through keeping Muzzin on the LTIR. When you look at the Leafs’ needs, and the growing pressure to make a goaltender part of those needs there is understandably some frustration about taking the honest approach of bringing Muzzin back when he’s ready.
Related: The Jake Muzzin Situation
So the LTIR approach with Muzzin would certainly be the easiest to understand approach for how the Leafs would maneuver any excess spending between the trade deadline and the end of the season. That ignores …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs hope Jake Muzzin can rediscover his game after concussion absence

CALGARY — Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Muzzin will make his return to the lineup when the club takes on the Calgary Flames to kick off a three-game road trip out west on Thursday.
Muzzin took a hit to the head by St. Louis Blues forward Klim Kostin on Jan. 15 and missed the next seven games with a concussion.
But the veteran’s play had struggled before the injury. The Maple Leafs hope the time away from action can help rejuvenate the 32-year-old’s game.
“I think it’s some of his play with the puck,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “I think he’s looking for some consistency there to move it out clean out of our end and get going. This type of reset maybe may turn into a positive for him in that sense.”
Acquired by the Maple Leafs in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings on Jan. 28, 2019 for defenceman Sean Durzi, forward Carl Grundstrom and a first-round draft pick in 2019. Muzzin brought a physical element to the top-four that Toronto’s defense had been lacking at the time.
As each season passed, Muzzin has seen his possession numbers take a dip with a steepe …

Read More

Author: David Alter / The Leafs Nation

Jake Muzzin’s value doesn’t come just from his on-ice play with the Maple Leafs

When Jake Muzzin joined the Maple Leafs back in 2019, Toronto wasn’t just getting him for his defensive abilities.
It’s been almost a month since the 32-year-old played his last game, but it seems as though the Maple Leafs haven’t missed a beat.
Since Muzzin left the lineup, Toronto has only lost one game — against the New York Rangers — a few days after the 32-year-old was injured.
If you look at the stretch of games in which Muzzin’s been out for, the first thing you notice is growth.
The Maple Leafs have lost a key player for the foreseeable future, but the players play like they haven’t skipped a beat.
Justin Holl looks to have returned to last season’s form and Rasmus Sandin, in Muzzin’s absence, has played particularly well.
It’s a good sign, but also leads to question marks as to when Muzzin returns.
“It’s different,” said Muzzin on Sunday when asked what recovery from a concussion is like. “I mean, concussions or head injuries are a little finicky sometimes, so it’s been challenging. But, it’s part of the game, it’s part of playing a physical sport, so hopefully it was the last one or we’re clear from here on out.”
During Monday’s morning skate, Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said it was a “positive day …

Read More

Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs’ Muzzin unlikely to return against Hurricanes on Monday

Jake Muzzin was a full participant for the Toronto Maple Leafs in their first practice following the NHL All-Star break but it’s unlikely the veteran defenseman will return from a concussion when the team hosts the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday.
“Given that it’s only been one day here before game action, I don’t know if that means he’ll be available to play tomorrow,” Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said. “They [Leafs medical staff] will sort through that but regardless it’s a good important step here.”
Muzzin sustained a concussion stemming from a hit he received by St. Louis Blues forward Klim Kostin in the team’s 6-5 victory on Jan. 15. Muzzin finished the game and took part in the team’s next scheduled practice but said he didn’t feel right after the session. He was diagnosed the following day with a concussion and has been out of action since.
The 32-year-old defenceman was the seventh D-man at practice, strongly indicating that the Leafs are preparing for Muzzin to miss his seventh straight game with a concussion.
“Concussions or head injuries are a little finicky sometimes, so it’s been challenging but it’s part of the game,” Muzzin said of his recovery. “It’s part of playing a physical sport so hopefully, you know it’s the last one.”

#Leafs line at practice Feb. 6/22
Bunting-Matthews-MarnerKerfoot-Tavares-NylanderMikheyev-Kampf-KaseEngvall-Spezza-Simmonds
Rielly-BrodieSandin-HollDermott-LiljegrenMuzzin
CampbellMrazek
— David Al …

Read More

Author: David Alter / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs’ Muzzin takes ‘a step back’, out through All-Star break

Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Muzzin has taken “a step back” in his recovery from a concussion, according to head coach Sheldon Keefe.
“‘They (Maple Leafs medical team) will continue to monitor him and work with him with hopes to ramp things up again as we get back from the break,” Keefe said after the team’s morning skate ahead of their game against the New Jersey Devils on Monday.
Muzzin will miss his fifth and sixth consecutive games when the Maple Leafs kick off a back-to-back, home-and-home series against the New Jersey Devils. He was injured after taking a hit to the head by St. Louis Blues forward Klim Kostin on Jan. 15.
The veteran defenceman took part in the team’s first practice that followed the game but was later diagnosed with a concussion after the player indicated to the team that he didn’t feel well following the skate.
Over the past week, there were signs that Muzzin could possibly return sooner than expected. He returned to practice wearing a non-contact jersey and stayed on the ice for longer sessions as each day passed.
Toronto is 3-1-0 in the four games they have played without Muzzin in the lineup, but have allowed 14 goals in that span. A prolonged absence without the …

Read More

Author: David Alter / The Leafs Nation