Connor Dewar’s carving himself a role for the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Seney
3 months ago
It hasn’t necessarily been an ideal start to his Toronto Maple Leafs career, however pesky forward Connor Dewar is starting to get comfortable. The 24-year-old versatile forward scored his first goal as a Leaf on Thursday night against the Washington Capitals, on a shift where he showed off his defensive skills, his willingness to go to the dirty areas of the net, and his old buddy Ryan Reaves loved what he saw, roughing him up after because of it.
Dewar met with the media after the game and had this to say to TSN’s Mark Masters regarding adjusting to Toronto:
It’s been weird. I’ve never gone through a trade before so I didn’t know what to expect really, but I’m starting to settle in & feel comfortable here. It’s (penalty killing) always been my bread & butter. It takes a detailed player with good feet & a good stick & a good head so I think that suits me.
Dewar went on to mention the biggest adjustment so far is the traffic and that’s he’s adjusted by getting up early and hitting the road. His adjustments on the ice have been made easier by having Reaves in Toronto. The two were linemates a ton with the Minnesota Wild last season.
Dewar’s known as a defensive specialist who can be a very effective penalty killer and this season, has shown a knack for the back of the net. While he may only have one in nine games as a Leaf, Dewar potted 10 goals with the Wild in 57 games, nine coming at even strength and one shorthanded. In Toronto he’s been leaned on a lot to kill penalties, especially with Mitch Marner out of the lineup, but even once Marner returns, look for Dewar to be among the PK units that start the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He’s doing his best to create a role for himself, one that will see a lot of ice shorthanded, but also a staple on the team’s fourth line. His versatility to play both the wing and centre is a nice luxury to have, especially if the likes of David Kampf or Pontus Holmberg go down with injury.

Dewar pays attention to fine defensive details

During the course of a game, you won’t often see Dewar on the ‘wrong side’ of the puck. He does a great job playing defensive minded hockey and likes to stay ‘on top’ of the puck and in between his goaltender and the opposition. It’s rare he’s chasing the play, but even when he had to catch Dylan Strome on Thursday, he did a great job not to take a slashing or holding penalty, which then eventually led to his first goal.
The Maple Leafs need Dewar at the top of his game. His defensive prowess is a great compliment to the team’s forward group and if the fourth line is crashing hard on the forecheck, cycling when they get the puck in the o-zone and not given up grade-A high-danger chances in their own end, they will see themselves play more than you think in the postseason.
Dewar’s game is built for the postseason. His best attributes are his defensive focus, speed and tenacity. He loves throwing the body, landing 111 hits between the two clubs, he’s had a few fights already this season and he’s not one to back down from mucking it up in the dirty areas of the ice. Even with Jarnkrok and Marner coming back before the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin and with some intense internal competition now among the Maple Leafs’ bottom-six, expect to see Dewar in the lineup for Game 1, and the Leafs will be better off because of it.

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