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Photo Credit: David Banks / USA TODAY Sports

Hockey Gods Bless Leafs, Timothy Liljegren selected 17th overall

Fans wanted to tank the year for Timothy Liljegren. He was the superstar right-handed defenceman the Leafs needed, after all. The Leafs rookies didn’t listen and made the playoffs. Liljegren didn’t listen and suffered mononucleosis, and ended up having a decent but not good enough to get excited year. 

But common sense says ignore the illness and let him reach his potential. We hand him ranked 6th overall in our Nation Network total rankings. The Leafs had him up there too. Maybe there’s a big four after all.

We’ll follow up with deeper dives as the weekend progresses.

Leafs at the 2017 Entry Draft

  • Skill2Envy

    I cannot believe Liljegren fell to the Leafs. I was hopeful this would happen but I highly doubted he would still be on the board at 17; great pick and will be a steal.

  • DukesRocks

    I’m shocked and amazed we got this guy. The key to the Leafs getting Lijegren was when TB went with Foot and LV took Brannstrom. I jumped out of my seat knowing it was a good chance we get him. The kid from a skill point of view is crazy elite, some of his decisions with the puck make you scratch your head but with great coaching, he’s a top pairing player no doubt about it.

  • mst

    Those who are fans of canadian player ( as all true canadians should be) are supremely disappointed to have another of our enemies players on our roster! For shame for shame! You all Canadian haters!!!!!

  • FlareKnight

    That is a nice pick. It’s funny that at this point last year there was those thoughts about having to tank to get Liljegren. And now here he is a Leaf anyways. Power of mono. Sucks that he had to deal with that and his season got unstable because of it, but a lucky break for us.

    Just has some great tools. Let him have another year out in Sweden and then see how things go the year after that. Nice result for the Leafs.

    • Gary Empey

      The big difference between Liljegren and the rest of the defenceman taken ahead of him is Liljegren has real potential to develop into a Norris Trophy winner. The others are more likely to develop into good solid defencemen.

  • Matmarwill

    Is Timme a better pickup than brannstrom and/or foote? Anyway, nice that they are concentrating on filling the biggest void in the buds’ system. Would be good to get another promising dman and a goalie with later picks tomorrow.

    • DukesRocks

      Both Foot and Brannstrom both have their attributes that got them draft in the front end of the draft. My comment was not a diss no both players but, rather the player I like the most. I feel Timmy will be special, he has all the elite tools to be special and I thank God he fell to us. Even Babs had a big smile, knowing the Leafs just drafted an elite talent at 17.

  • lukewarmwater

    About a week ago I watched a high lite reel of Liljegren and I was blown away with his superb skating ability, play making and a canon for a shot. I thought leaping Lou might make a deal to move up to get this young man. But wow indeed the Hockey Gods were once again with us. I mean the kid gets mono at 17 and for some goofy G.M.’s it is career over. He is already over 190 lbs and will probably play at 200. He indeed has the natural talent of Karlson. Great pick up leafs.

  • Gary Empey

    Since the end of the season the Leafs have added an incredible amount of speed on the backend.

    Babcock: “Well, I think a couple of things we did already, by signing [Andreas] Borgman and [Calle] Rosen, two guys from the Swedish Hockey League. One guy was a rookie of the year and he’s a ’95, the other guy Rosen is a year older but is an elite, elite skater. Can they step right in and play? Well, we’re going to give them the opportunity, but then it’s up to them.”

    Here is a scouting report I like on Lijefren. It is from Last Word on Hockey.

    Skating

    Liljegren is an elite skater. He moves well both forwards and
    backwards, with excellent speed and acceleration. He also has very good
    edge work and pivots. As such he can cover a ton of ice. Liljegren can
    make offensive plays rushing the puck, or pinching in at the blue line;
    but still has the speed to get back defensively. He also has good
    balance and lower body strength. This helps him to win his battles along
    the boards and in front of the net. When carrying the puck, he is tough
    to knock off of it.

    Offensive Game

    Liljegren has the poise and smarts to quarterback a power play. He
    has excellent vision, and makes good passes to set things up at the
    line. Liljegren finds the open man and makes tape-to-tape passes through
    tight areas. He can also make the long breakout pass to hit a teammate
    streaking through the neutral zone. Liljegren is a very good stick
    handler. He can move the puck out of danger, and avoid fore checkers
    when starting the transition game. He also has the ability to make plays
    leading the rush or to join the rush as a trailer. Liljegren’s has high
    hockey IQ, as he almost always makes the smart play with the
    puck.

    Liljegren also has an excellent shot. His slapshot has great power,
    and the has the ability to get it through traffic and on net. He can
    really hammer a laser when he is given a good pass for a one-timer. He
    also can vary things up with a quick release and accurate wrist shot.
    Liljegren usually keeps his shot low, looking for teammates to get
    deflections and rebounds.

    Defensive Game

    Liljegren’s defensive game is very advanced for an 18-year-old,
    however there is still plenty of room to improve. He uses his strong
    skating ability and quick feet to contain his opponent and maintains
    good gap control. His stick is quick and he can create turnovers through
    poking a puck away from an opponent or through intercepting a pass.
    Liljegren could stand to be a bit more physical though. He already
    has decent muscle mass, but could add a little more.

    Projection and Comparison

    After a rough season, Liljegren will need some development time. It
    is unlikely that he will be ready to step into the NHL immediately.
    There is real upside here though, and Liljegren could become a top pair
    NHL defenceman if he continues to improve his game. In terms of a
    stylistic (but not talent based) comparison, he resembles Oliver Ekman-Larsson of the Arizona Coyotes.

  • BC SPORTS FAN

    Liligren was by the far the best defense man at the U-17 world championships held in Fort St. John B.C. held in 2015. Has an elite skill set, scored the goal of the tournament in leading Sweden to a bronze medal. Leafs got the steal of the draft.