NHL Insider Reveals Why The Maple Leafs Performed Better Without Morgan Rielly

Published February 22, 2024 at 5:26 PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been on an impressive winning streak, securing victories in their last five games even in the absence of their defensive anchor, Morgan Rielly. Recently, NHL insider Nick Kypreos offered his insights into why the team seems to thrive without Rielly on the ice.

According to Kypreos, the Leafs' defensive unit appears more disciplined when Rielly is sidelined. He suggested this theory during a podcast, pointing out the team's remarkable performance in the five games that Rielly was suspended following a crosscheck incident in a disappointing loss to the Ottawa Senators.

Kypreos' observation raises an interesting point: perhaps the Leafs' defense feels the need to step up in Rielly's absence, resulting in a more structured and disciplined approach, particularly from stay-at-home defensemen.

"It's not exactly a small sample size here, it's significant... I think they are more disciplined without Rielly," said Kypreos of the Leafs' blueline without Rielly. "I think it's just the fact that they know who they are back there and they aren't trying to do anything out of the ordinary. No one is trying to be a Morgan Rielly and skate coast-to-coast. You'd think you could convince these guys to be as disciplined (when Rielly is in the lineup).

There is only one green light here and it belongs to Morgan Rielly. I don't know if it's contagious that once one defenseman sees Morgan have a bit a freedom to go behind the net or jump up in the play or pinch that everyone goes along for the ride as well."

As the Leafs continue to demonstrate their defensive prowess in Rielly's absence, the team's management, led by Brad Treliving, may be prompted to consider acquiring a top-tier defenseman to complement Rielly's play once he returns. This move could solidify the team's defensive lineup and contribute to their continued success.

As the trade deadline approaches, all eyes will be on Treliving and the Leafs' front office to see if they make any moves to bolster their defensive core. In the meantime, fans eagerly anticipate tonight's matchup against the Golden Knights to witness the Leafs' ongoing performance on the ice.

Source: Hockeypatrol
February 22   |   74 answers
NHL Insider Reveals Why The Maple Leafs Performed Better Without Morgan Rielly

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