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What to expect from Denis Malgin this summer

Who? Is he a Leaf? Still?

Once I double checked, I learned that Denis Malgin played eight games for the Toronto Maple Leafs this season. Neat.

Malgin’s time with the Leafs involved averaging just over 10 minutes a game, picking up zero points, and taking three shots. That’s not really a lot to make a case for Malgin doing much of anything with the Leafs in the playoffs. Malgin is an undersized winger on a team that has no shortage of undersized wingers, other than roster depth it’s hard to make a case for Malgin as a factor in the playoffs for the Leafs.

By the numbers

So yeah, not a whole lot that sticks out as Malgin being a replacement level player. There isn’t much offense. There isn’t much defense. Malgin joins the group of Aberg, Brooks, and Petan, who played a few games for the Leafs but failed to do anything too noticeable. And really the story of Malgin’s time with the Panthers wasn’t that different.

What we’ve seen so far

Again, he’s played eight games with the Leafs. What we’ve seen is that combining Malgin with Gauthier and Clifford creates about as much offense as you’d expect. Malgin was generally the best outlet for moving the puck out of the defensive zone with the linemates he was working with, and that could be his value going forward. If the fourth line seems too slow against the opposition in any of the rounds, it’s entirely possible that Malgin could draw in.

How will he do against Columbus?

Well, assuming he plays against Columbus, I would assume he’s going to be somewhat of a non-factor. The biggest advantage to dressing a player like Malgin could be if the Leafs find themselves in a marathon overtime game, and Malgin can be that fresh set of legs who picks up a few more shifts in the top nine to keep the puck cycling.

Playoff Expectations

Well, the expectations are probably that Malgin falls deep on the depth chart…

LW C RW
Hyman Matthews Marner
Mikheyev Tavares Nylander
Engvall Kerfoot Kapanen
Clifford Gauthier Spezza
Johnsson (once healthy) or Robertson Brooks Malgin

If the Leafs aren’t getting anywhere with their likely top 12, you’d have to imagine they would rather explore what they have in Nick Robertson before Malgin. It’s also entirely possible that once Andreas Johnsson is ready to return (assuming he is able to return) that Malgin will completely slip off the radar. if the Leafs are hit with injuries in the return to play, having someone like Malgin is nice depth to fall back on. Until then, Malgin will probably be hanging out at the hub city hotel most of the time, and he seems unlikely to be in the Leafs future. He’s been rumoured to be returning to Switzerland next season and I don’t think we should expect that he’ll change his mind this summer.