Kyle Clifford is a seasoned NHL veteran. However, fans likely haven’t heard much about him recently. Might he be the forgotten man for the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Despite his previous stint with the team during the 2019-20 season and a significant part of the team’s trade for goalie Jack Campbell from the Los Angeles Kings, Clifford’s return to the Maple Leafs from the St. Louis Blues in November 2021 was kind of under the radar. It hasn’t translated into much ice time with the big club.

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Since Returning to the Maple Leafs Organization, Clifford Has Been with the Marlies

Since his return from the Blues, Clifford has primarily played for the Toronto Marlies in the AHL. He’s been taking regular shifts, providing veteran leadership, and contributing to the team’s success. Although he has seen limited action with the Maple Leafs, Clifford’s physical presence on the ice is undeniable. And, having a physical presence is never more crucial than during the postseason.

The question becomes if Clifford might become a potential asset should the team need a boost of experience and toughness during the playoffs.

Despite his reduced role, Clifford has remained active and productive in the AHL. He’s put up solid numbers and demonstrated his willingness to defend his teammates. Recently, he’s engaged in altercations on the ice when he feels his teammates have been treated too roughly or the team’s honor was maligned.

Clifford Has Had a Solid NHL Career and Is in Game Shape

With a career spanning over 750 regular-season games and two Stanley Cup rings as part of his resume, Clifford’s championship pedigree and commitment to the game could make him a valuable depth option for the Maple Leafs. While he’s no longer a youngster at 33 years old, he might be a depth bonus for the team during the postseason.

Kyle Clifford, Maple Leafs

Clifford won’t be a regular in the lineup if he’s on the Maple Leafs roster when the playoffs arrive. Yet, his readiness to step in if needed could be a possible response to a need for on-ice physicality. He’s shown his dedication to the organization and willingness to contribute in any way possible.

As the postseason approaches, Clifford’s presence within the Maple Leafs system could prove crucial. While it isn’t likely to happen, Clifford could offer a blend of experience, physicality, and championship-winning mentality to the roster. Until then, he’s been quite forgotten toiling in relative obscurity with the AHL Marlies.

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