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The Leafs are making the right decision by giving John Klingberg the first crack at running the No. 1 power play unit

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Photo credit:Steven Ellis/Daily Faceoff
Nick Alberga
9 months ago
It appears John Klingberg will get the first stab at quarterbacking Toronto’s vaunted No. 1 power play unit.
And for a variety of reasons – at least right now – I think it’s a good idea.
For starters, I like the fact that Sheldon Keefe is putting the 31-year-old in a position to excel offensively right off the get-go. If this experiment’s going to work in Toronto, there’s no question they need to find a way to build up his confidence as soon as possible and putting him with the big boys on PP1 could go a long way in helping to achieve that. Indisputably, Klingberg’s coming off his worst NHL season. That said, in the past, especially in Dallas, he’s flourished in this type of role, and now, it’s up to Keefe and company to try and untap that potential once more.
Meantime, I don’t really think they have to worry much about the whole ego thing either with respect to Morgan Rielly. As we’re all well aware of by now, he’s as selfless as they come. It’s all about winning for him. The stats come a distant second. Furthermore, I’m sure some of the thought process behind bringing in Klingberg, a seasoned puck mover, was to help insulate Rielly a bit more. The guy plays a ton, so I’m all for lightening his workload whenever they can.
In the grand scheme of things, both Klingberg and Rielly will each get their fair share of reps on the number one unit throughout the season. Additionally, internal competition is never a bad thing. Honestly, I’m looking forward to seeing how the battle plays out, and most importantly, how it affects each player. In theory, it should push them and inspire them to elevate.
At any rate, let’s hope the Leafs handle this a bit better than they did when Tyson Barrie was an option to spell Rielly. Of course, unsurprisingly, Mike Babcock was painstakingly stubborn and didn’t feel remotely obligated to utilize Barrie in a role that he was best suited for. Yup, shocker.

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