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Maple Leafs’ Quick Hits: McMann’s Speed & Liljegren’s IQ

As the Toronto Maple Leafs look to the future, two young players are standing out. Who are they? What are their positive characteristics?

As the Toronto Maple Leafs look to the future of the organization, several young players stand out. In this post, I’ll look at two of them and discuss a number of their positive characteristics.

Related: Maple Leafs Don’t Need to Follow the Raptors’ Example

Quick Hit One: Bobby McMann Shines at the AHL Level

The Toronto Marlies played the Laval Rocket two times in two days (Friday and Saturday). In Friday’s first game, the Marlies won handily by a score of 4-1. But in the second half of the back-to-back, they lost to the Rocket for the first time this season.

The final score was 7 to 3. It was not a strong performance for Toronto in the game. They fell behind by three goals in the first period; and, they never recovered.

However, Bobby McMann had a strong game. He scored a pair of goals in the game, bringing his point total to 10 goals and seven assists (for 17 points) in 19 games this season. He has also been playing well lately, with seven goals in his last seven AHL games.

Two aspects McMann has been showing more and more are his speed and power. On one of the goals, he simply out-powered and out-skated his opponent to put home a rebound.

Related: Alex Steeves Wants to Play for Maple Leafs, But Marlies Are Great

Quick Hit Two: Hats Off to Timothy Liljegren on His Great Season

Timothy Liljegren has had nothing short of a great season so far. A healthy scratch in last year’s postseason, he’s burst out of the pack to show strong development as a defenseman. He’s now become a regular in the team’s top-four defensive pairings and is averaging a career-high 18:43 of TOI (time on ice) per game.

Liljegren has contributed four goals and nine assists (for 13 points) in his 41 games played. In addition, he’s been engaged physically. He has collected 22 penalty minutes with a rating of plus-19. His offensive skills are growing and his hockey IQ is off the charts.

Liljegren has become more than competent; he’s become an impactful two-way defenseman. Given these advances in his play, does he deserve more time on the power-play units? It should be interesting to see how his head coach Sheldon Keefe decides to deploy him.

Timothy Liljegren, Maple Leafs

In a perfect world, both Liljegren and his partner Rasmus Sandin might have been better served with more sheltered minutes. For example, the hard forechecking of the Boston Bruins made life difficult for both of them in last Wednesday’s game. That hasn’t been possible this season.

One thing Maple Leafs’ fans can be pretty sure of is that neither Liljegren nor Sandin are moving anywhere in a trade at the deadline – regardless of who comes back. Unless something explosive happens, which seems unlikely, both these two youngsters are destined to remain with the Maple Leafs for at least the near future.

Related: Maple Leafs Random Thoughts: Woll, Dubas & Areas to Improve



  1. Afp1961

    February 7, 2023 at 4:11 am

    Jim – Sandin should be moved like yesterday before his skills gap become apparent to the rest of the league.

  2. TMLBlueandWhite

    February 7, 2023 at 5:00 am

    Liljegren is good, not great, and the Leafs have been lacking a true 1RHD for what seems like decades.

    While it is unlikely that either of the two Swedish defenders get moved, Kyle Dubas wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t entertain any offers that would improve the team and help them go deep in the playoffs this year.

    Go Leafs Go.

  3. gfinale

    February 7, 2023 at 7:46 am

    Liljegren was a star offensive defenseman when he was drafted. If he hadn’t got mono, he was scheduled to go very early in the first round. He fell to the point where the Leafs got him luckily. For the past 2 or 3 years, his focus has been defense in order to make him a great all-round defenseman. Under the hood though, he has great offensive skills that we will see more and more as he gets comfortable in the NHL.

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