Conor Timmins is a 24-year-old defenseman who no one saw coming. A year ago, he wasn’t likely on anyone’s watch list. However, he surprised many Toronto Maple Leafs’ fans during the 2022-23 season with his impressive play.
If the team’s defence had not been ravaged by injuries, it’s likely that Timmins might never have arrived in Toronto. He was acquired basically as a depth fill-in to the team’s defensive lineup when there was no other choice.
To say that Timmins made the most of his opportunity is a bit of an understatement. He came in and quickly made an impact. Although he wasn’t used that much at the end of the season, he had already showcased his potential and left Maple Leafs’ fans (me at least) excited about what the future might hold for him on the Maple Leafs.
In this post, as you can see from the title, I’m predicting that he will have a breakout season in 2023-24. Here’s why.
Timmins Might Just Be a Hidden Gem
Former GM Kyle Dubas made a wise move when he traded Curtis Douglas to the Arizona Coyotes for Timmins. It wasn’t that Dubas didn’t know who Timmins was. He had been part of the Soo Greyhounds when both Maple Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe and Dubas were involved with the team.
Despite Timmins’ injury history, Dubas had a hunch that the 6-foot-2 defenseman had potential. He was correct. Many years ago, he had been projected as a first-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft. However, Timmins had experienced a number of injury setbacks.
Now he looks to be a pickup whose talent and skill set might make him a valuable asset for the Maple Leafs for many seasons to come.
Timmins Got Off to an Impressive Start
When Timmins first suited up in the Blue and White, he wasted no time making an impact. Although he only played 25 games during the 2022-23 season, he showcased his offensive abilities by recording ten points. He also scored his first NHL goal.
His immediate contribution highlighted his ability to generate offence from the blue line. He provided a much-needed boost to the team in the short time he played.
Timmins Had Encouraging Analytics
Although he put up a limited sample size, in that limited time Timmins’ advanced statistics were really quite amazing. In the two tables below, you can see his scoring numbers as well as his advanced analytics.
Table Two shows that his Corsi-for percentage, expected goals, and high-danger chance percentage all point toward positive play (above 50% is good). As well, the team’s possession metrics improved significantly when he was on the ice. In fact, Timmins had the highest Corsi-for percentage among Maple Leafs’ defensemen. These numbers show his ability to drive play and create scoring opportunities.
Table One: Timmins Scoring Numbers
Table Two: Timmins Advanced Analytics
|Season||Corsi%||Expected Goals||High Danger Chance %|
Timmins’ Impact on His Teammates
Even better is that Timmins’ positive influence extended past his personal performance. He had strong chemistry with defensemen T.J. Brodie and Mark Giordano. Their Corsi ratings improved when Timmins played alongside them.
Next Season’s Prediction for Timmins
Heading into the 2023-24 season, what will the Maple Leafs do with Timmins? He has impressive numbers from last season, which suggest he’s earned a spot in the NHL and should receive regular playing time. I’m hoping he has a chance to prove that the 2022-23 season was no fluke.
However, with a new general manager (GM), there’s no telling how Timmins will fit in. I’m hoping Brad Treliving sees what I think I see. If he does, he’ll give Timmins every chance to continue his development and gain valuable playing experience.
I believe Timmins has a higher potential than many believe. As a fan, I’m anxious to witness what his season might look like for the Maple Leafs in 2023-24.