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Most Improved Maple Leafs Defenseman Poised To Take The Next Step


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Tyler Ball
August 29, 2023  (11:08)
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The offseason is at a slow period for breaking news. This is often the time of the year when analysts and writers take a look back at the previous season for prospects and players who have slipped under the radar. Today we look at a Maple Leafs Defenseman who has done just that.

Leafs Defenseman Impresses With The Marlies

William Villeneuve got a chance to play his first full season in the AHL during the 2022-23 season. Appearing in 54 games Villeneuve tallied 25 total points which is very respectable for a rookie defenseman. The 21-year-old is coming along much faster than anyone expected.
Taking a quick look at an analytics model put together by Dom Luszczyszyn of The Athletic Villeneuve might be even more underrated than his counting stats show.
This statistic shows that Villeneuve is not just a good prospect but had one of the top seasons by U24 defensemen in the AHL over the last 3 seasons. He is definitely someone that Leafs fans should be excited for.

Villeneuve Wins Wherever He Goes

Before making it to the Marlies William Villeneuve was a key piece to the success of the Saint Johns Sea Dogs on their way to a Memorial Cup Ring in 2022. During his time with the Sea Dogs Villeneuve was an assistant captain for several seasons.
Then in his transition to the Marlies, the team made the playoffs for the first time since 2019. While Villeneuve did not factor into the lineup during the playoffs he was a key part in getting them there.
In the coming years, Villeneuve will have to improve his skating stride and overall strength to keep on this fantastic trajectory. He will be a very intriguing player to follow in his progression to potentially becoming an NHL player sooner rather than later.
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Most Improved Maple Leafs Defenseman Poised To Take The Next Step

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