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The Maple Leafs currently have a John Klingberg problem

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Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Seney
8 months ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs are not getting enough out of defenseman John Klingberg and at a time of desperate need, things need to change in a hurry.
Klingberg wasn’t signed to a one-year $4.1 million contract to win the Norris. Everyone and their mother knew he had flaws in his game defensively. Frankly, his underlying numbers last season between Anaheim and Minnesota were some of the worst defensively in the league. Unfortunately, that seems to also be the case in Toronto as his Maple Leafs career hasn’t exactly gotten off on the right foot. But to me, it’s the offensive side of the puck that’s even more frustrating as Klingberg continues to make terrible reads and continues to have his back-foot wrister blocked, which against the Buffalo Sabres, cost the Leafs a chance to tie the game 6-on-5.
Klingberg needs to be better. The Maple Leafs are down Jake McCabe, Conor Timmins and Timothy Liljegren and head coach Sheldon Keefe needs more from his vet.

The Last Five Have Been His Worst

The Maple Leafs are 1-2-2 in their last five games and it’s been hard to watch at times, especially the play of #3. For starters, Klingberg hasn’t recorded a point in the last five, which includes close to 20 minutes combined in power-play time. That’s concerning. His last two games have been the most the Swedish defenseman has played since joining the Leafs and it feels like his game has been even more exposed because of it.
Klingberg’s a very creative offensive mind. He sees the ice well when he’s buzzin’ and his first pass can be crisp and on the money. It’s just all the in between. Multiple times it’s been a bad read in his own zone where he’s either not tying up the right forward going to the net, or any forward for that matter, or he’s making a lazy pass up the boards that becomes a turnover and winds up a high-danger scoring chance.
Let’s check in to see how some members of Leafs Nation are feeling about Klingberg at this time:
I think I might owe Justin Holl an apology. Ok, it’s not that bad just yet, but it seems to be trending in the wrong direction for Klingberg after just 11 games in. You can’t say we weren’t warned about this…
Klingberg needs to keep his game simple and he needs to move the puck faster. Enough with dusting it off and a couple of toe drags and pivots, snap it around and get the biscuit on the sticks of the Maple Leafs top guns. The Leafs core four have been carrying the team and it must continue for this team to have any chance.
Toronto continues their five-game home stand to kick off November before they make way to Stockholm, Sweden. The Maple Leafs have a number of Swedes in their lineup and perhaps some home cooking for Klingberg will be exactly what the doctor ordered to get his game on track. Get those meatballs ready!
Klingberg’s game against the Sabres on Saturday night felt like his worst performance. He was dash -3 and made one of the worst shot attempts I’ve ever seen in the dying seconds of a game as the Leafs were looking to tie it up 6-on-5. Things need to change and quickly, as Toronto is banged up on the blue line and need more out of #3. Where have we heard that before?

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