4 Maple Leafs Disappointments So Far in 2022-23

With the Toronto Maple Leafs sitting with a 15-5-6 record heading into Tuesday night’s contest with the Dallas Stars, you’d think there wouldn’t be many disappointments so far this season. Turns out not everyone on the roster has lived up to expectations in 2022-23.

Let’s dive into four players who have disappointed so far in 2022-23 and need to step up if the Maple Leafs want to get over their first round demons heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Alexander Kerfoot

Target No. 1 for the Maple Leafs’ disappointment tracker is forward Alexander Kerfoot. The 28-year-old has been snake bitten for essentially the entire season, recording only one goal and nine assists in 26 contests.

Alex Kerfoot Toronto Maple Leafs
Alex Kerfoot, Toronto Maple Leafs (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Kerfoot is making $3.5 million against the cap this season, and at this rate of production is severely overpaid. The versatile forward has seen looks all over the team’s lineup, throughout all four lines, but to this point, nothing has worked.

He’s a pending free agent who could potentially be moved this season if things don’t turn around. The Maple Leafs are satisfied with his defensive game as he’s a responsible forward; however, the team’s need for secondary scoring needs to be addressed, meaning he could be moved in a package before the trade deadline to help even out the salaries involved.

Pierre Engvall

Another forward who had a ton of opportunity heading into this season, Pierre Engvall has disappointed in Toronto so far in 2022-23.

Pierre Engvall Toronto Maple Leafs
Pierre Engvall, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

At times he’s looked disengaged and at others, he’s looked soft as the 6-foot-5 Engvall does not play a physical game, despite playing a checking role on the team. He’s produced only three goals and six points in 25 games and at $2.25 million against the cap, that’s frankly not a good enough return on investment.

Related: Maple Leafs’ 2022-23 Trade Targets: Philadelphia Flyers

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Engvall, like Kerfoot, is a pending free agent who is playing for a contract next season. At this rate, you wouldn’t know his job was on the line in Toronto. Look for management to test the trade waters this season, as they may want an upgrade heading into what’s going to be a pressure-packed postseason for the Maple Leafs.

Rasmus Sandin

You would think a young defenseman with eight points in 26 games and a plus-3 rating would be exceeding expectations, however, that’s not the case at all for Rasmus Sandin.

The Maple Leafs’ former first-round pick missed training camp due to his contract negotiations going longer than expected and frankly at times, has looked a bit sloppy. Sandin’s been given a much larger role thanks to a slew of injuries on the team’s blue line, but when everyone was healthy, he was still struggling.

With bad passes, bad reads, and plenty of giveaways, Sandin has put the coaching staff through the wringer this season and displayed some flaws in his game. As I mentioned, lately he’s been much better, but the team will need to see this consistency moving forward and especially in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

If the Maple Leafs end up making a big splash via the trade market for a player like Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks, or Jakob Chychrun of the Arizona Coyotes, expect to see Sandin included in the package heading out of Toronto.

Denis Malgin

Look, I wasn’t expecting very much out of Denis Malgin this season, but I was expecting to see more consistency from his game, and unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case at all.

Malgin has appeared in 18 games so far in 2022-23 and has produced four points. He’s played in mostly a fourth-line role but has managed to average over one minute of power-play time per game. The production has not been there, and now neither has the steady ice time as he is expected to be scratched again on Tuesday night as the Leafs match up against the Dallas Stars. He continues to battle it out with the likes of Wayne Simmonds and Nick Robertson for playing time and could eventually be waived if the production doesn’t appear once he finds himself back in the lineup.

To conclude, I feel like of the four listed above, Kerfoot is the one struggling the most. The production hasn’t been there and at times, it looks like he’s lost his confidence on the ice. Toronto needs his secondary scoring as the ‘big four’ can’t carry the load for the entire season and Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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