Former Leaf identifies who he believes the new ''whipping boy'' will be in Toronto

Ryan Smitheram
August 21, 2023  (12:42)

The hallmark of previous Brad Treliving teams has been big, physical defensemen and the Leafs' defense corps does not currently contain much of that. Treliving brought in 6'3 John Klingberg, signing him to a 1-year, $4M deal early in free agency, but he was brought in to provide more offense to the blueline. He's not know for his defensive prowess, nor his physical play.

Today on TSN1050's First Up, hosts Carlo Colaiacovo and Aaron Korolnek discussed the current make-up of the Leafs' blueline and called out the Klingberg signing, as they believe Klingberg to be a defensive liability and not at all what the Leafs needed.
"If you thought Morgan Rielly was a whipping boy defensively, this guy is gonna put on a performance of epic proportions, Klingberg defensively... what I'm saying is that Klingberg excites people because of his offensive game. Nothing about his defensive game excites people," said Colaiacovo.
Korolnek took Colaiacovo's comments one step further and labeled Klingberg as the new Justin Holl.
"My guess is Klingberg is the whipping boy for the Leafs. I think its a pretty safe guess to replace Justin Holl."
Both Korolnek and Colaiacovo believe that Klingberg is just a more offensively adept Justin Holl, essentially. Holl was one of the most, if not THE most, polarizing Leaf over recent years because of his ability to allow scoring opportunities for the opposition out of simple, easy plays. Holl was a player who struggled greatly with getting the puck out of his own zone. He'd make ill-advised plays in an attempt to clear the zone and the puck would often wind up in his net as a result. Korolnek and Colaiacovo seem to believe it will be more of the same with Klingberg, despite the fact that he's actually a solid puck-mover who excels at clearing his zone and making a solid first pass.
Klingberg is not going to block shots the same way that Holl did. He's not going to clear the front of the net like Jake Muzzin would. He's not going to be physical along the wall in his own zone either or use his body to disrupt a heavy, hard forecheck. Basically, if he's not scoring or creating offense, the microscope will be on him at all times.
I hope he's ready for the pressure that comes with playing in Toronto, because it won't be pretty if he's not.
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Former Leaf identifies who he believes the new ''whipping boy'' will be in Toronto

Do you think John Klingberg will be the next whipping boy in Toronto?

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