NHL providing learning experience for Leafs’ Holzer

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Korbinian Holzer was taken to school last week by Pittsburgh Penguins forward Chris Kunitz, which led to Sidney Crosby’s spin-o-rama backhand pass to Pascal Dupuis, which led to a goal.

Here’s a look:

A great goal from the Penguins, but a valuable learning experience for Holzer, who, as per an article in the Globe and Mail by James Mirtle, recently spent time working with Leafs’ assistant coach Scott Gordon on ways to improve.

“We just talked about what I could have done differently so it’s just slight adjustments,” Holzer told the Globe and Mail.

“It happens pretty quick out there. But it’s good to know now what other perspectives you can have and maybe do it better next time.

“You’ve got to give them credit, too. Not many players can do that spin-o-rama pass backhand. That’s a pretty sick play and it’s hard to defend.”

The depth of the Leafs defence has also been called into question. Prior to this season, Holzer had just two games of NHL experience, and the lack of experience is beginning to show.

In the last six games, Holzer, who is averaging 18:30 of ice time per game, is a combined minus-10.

The Leafs did add depth to their defence, albeit down on the farm. Morgan Rielly, the Leafs 19-year-old prospect and a first-round pick from last year’s NHL Entry Draft, has been assigned to the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League and is expected to report to the club on Wednesday.

The Leafs are suddenly in a slump, having lost their last five games.

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