With Hunwick becoming the latest Leaf to join the IR (or at least the unhealthy scratched), the Leafs need to add a defenseman for tonight’s game against New York. It appears that all the need is Loov.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) February 18, 2016
After a season and a half with the Marlies, the 2012 7th round draft pick will make his NHL debut tonight, likely taking up residence next to Martin Marincin on the third defensive pairing. We can probably expect the top four to be leaned on heavily tonight, but honestly I’ll be tuning in solely for the glimpse of a defenseman we’ve seen hyped at various points in his time with the organization.
Loov is primarily a physical defender, with tendencies to be more of the traditional stay at home defender, rather than a shot suppressor. Since he’s Swedish I feel the need to compare him to other recent Swedish Leafs defensemen, and put him ahead of Granberg and Frogren, but not on the level of Gunnarsson. Having Loov do spot NHL duty seems perfectly reasonable for him.
This season on the Marlies, Loov has recorded 1 goal, and 11 points in 48 games, 7 of those assists being secondary assists. That being said, no one is expecting offense from Loov, and he’s been part of team that has done an excellent job of keeping shots and goals to the minimum this year, so he deserves a reward.
With Percy and Harrington injured, Loov was the logical choice for a look out of the younger Leafs defensemen, and the fact that Brennan and Campbell were bypassed is either showing a commitment to seeing what the Leafs have in their youth or a worry about losing players to waivers so close to the trade deadline.
No matter what, it’s exciting to see someone play in their first NHL game, and hope Loov can make us want to see more of him.