After the additions of TJ Brodie and Zach Bogosian helped shore up a much-maligned Leafs defensive unit during the shortened 2020-21 season, Toronto’s blue line has once again been a point of consternation through the first half of the 2021-22 campaign.
Even with Morgan Rielly playing the best hockey of his career and Brodie locking things down beside him on the team’s top pairing, head coach Sheldon Keefe has been left searching for answers to Toronto’s defensive struggles for much of the season.
Many of those struggles have stemmed from the Leafs’ supposed shutdown pairing of Jake Muzzin and Justin Holl as both players have dealt with injuries and inconsistent play throughout the first half. Muzzin was arguably Toronto’s best defenceman in 2020-21, joining forces with Holl to shoulder the heaviest workload on the team all season long, but they have been unable to produce the same kind of results so far this season.
An illness derailed Holl early in the season and he ended up watching five straight games as a healthy scratch, paving the way for Timothy Liljegren to establish his place in the Leafs’ defensive rotation. Compounding one problem with another, Muzzin was facing his own individual struggles for much of the season before hitting …
Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation