When it comes to the playstyle of the Leafs, one thing that consistently gets brought up in terms of an area of weakness is the lack of the team being tough to play against.
Meaning that players on the Leafs can be cross-checked, high-sticked, or slashed and their teammates will not put up much resistance to let the opposition know that they won’t get off scot-free.
It is true that the Leafs are among the leaders in hits to begin the 2022-23 season as they currently sit third with 149 behind only the Predators and Capitals. Much of that has to do with new additions like Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Zach Aston-Reese, and some of the mainstays like Rasmus Sandin and Auston Matthews.
It’s a good place to start, but dishing out hits is not the only thing that defines team toughness. A big part is sticking up for your guys when one of them gets hit or standing up for yourself. This is something that the Leafs have struggled with on a consistent basis for years and do not have enough players that instinctively stand up for themselves, support their teammates, and protect the crease to prevent the screen.
It is for this reason that you hear a significant portion of the fanbase complain about how the Leafs do not hav …
Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation