Toronto Maple Leafs Need A Lot From Tyler Bozak This Season

By evanleblanc
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Bozak, who has posted 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) so far this season in 23 games, will need to produce more than he has thus far in his career for the Toronto Maple Leafs to be able to score the way that they want to. Bozak’s best season was 2011-12 when he scored 18 goals and recorded 29 assists in 73 games.

He certainly seems to be popular enough with the hometown fans, who are psyched about his all-around game and his ability to take faceoffs and make smart decisions with the puck. In a small sample size this season, he is producing about a point per game and has improved his +/- rating over the past two seasons.

Bozak is a +5 this year, after recording a -1 last season. In 2010-11, his first full NHL season, he was a -29. He is clearly a smarter and more conscious player at this point than he was earlier in his career. I think the time has come for him to start producing points at a high level.

After coming back from injury, Bozak has the opportunity to bolster the offense in a way that truly affects the top six and the goals-per-game average that the Maple Leafs have. For a team that needs to generate more offense (as their goaltending has come back down to earth, and their defense is not that great), Bozak could be a key piece.

Bozak needs to make the decision to shoot more often as well. Just because he is playing with others who he feels can finish better than he can does not mean that he necessarily has to defer to them on every play. A good passer, Bozak could benefit from not being shy and trying to take a chance to score himself from time to time.

Natural playmakers do not truly come into form until they realize that there are some times when it is better to shoot than to pass. It is always difficult for players to start sensing when it would be beneficial to play a simpler game and shoot, even if they find themselves in odd-man situations.

If Bozak applies all of these things to his game, there should be no reason why he should not be able to produce 20 goals and 50 points this year.

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