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Sunday FTB: Pontus Holmberg is thriving with Maple Leafs

And Marner reaches new levels of history

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NEWARK, NJ - NOVEMBER 23: Pontus Holmberg #29 of the Toronto Maple Leafs on the bench against the New Jersey Devils on November 23, 2022 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Photo by Rich Graessle/NHLI via Getty Images

Pontus Holmberg has been a revelation to the Leafs bottom six this season. After getting drafted in the sixth round, Holmberg developed into a top player in Sweden, winning the league championship, before coming over here at the age of 24. Now that he’s here and taken a few games to get in the groove, we get to see all the things he brings to the Leafs.

The Leafs have been able to develop Holmberg in the NHL rather than playing him in the AHL by playing him as the 11th or 12th forward on the fourth line (averaging 10 minutes an night). As a reliable, direct system player he’s been able to show better than another young player in Nick Robertson (who I will add is two years younger than Holmberg).

Not only does Holmberg have two goals on the season, both game winners, but his on-ice stats have been a big improvement on the awful bottom-six analytics to start the season. With Holmberg on the ice the Leafs in very low minutes, he’s been greatly outshooting his competition (other bottom sixes). 57% shot share in 77 minutes isn’t worth believing as anything, but it definitely could be worse. And as for the video room analysis of actions regardless of results, Sheldon Keefe gives very very high praise.

The Leafs beat the Penguins 4-1 in a great night all-around. The big guys scored, Holmberg scored, Murray was excellent, the Leafs controlled the pace of play handily, and got the result.

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Mitch Marner joined historic Leafs company with his 16th consecutive game with at least a point. One more and he’s sitting third all-time, two more and he’s next to Sittler and Olczyk. If Marner doesn’t break every assist/point record the Leafs have this season, he will by the end of his career.

I would’ve given the farm to Jason Robertson. Then I would’ve bought another farm and given it to him. Robertson now leads the NHL in goals with a 15-game point streak, three consecutive multi-goal games, and 25 points in the month of November.