Toronto Maple Leafs players that need to step up with Matthews injured

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 10: Auston Matthews
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 10: Auston Matthews /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
EDMONTON, AB – NOVEMBER 30: Oscar Klefbom /

Connor Brown

When Brown was on the fourth line, people could not stop wondering when he would get moved up the lineup. When Leo Komarov was moved to the fourth line, the 24-year-old was moved up to play with James van Riemsdyk and Bozak.

The Etobicoke native is on pace for 17 goals this season and has been seeing a bump in ice time; against the New York Islanders he played 19:26. He will be counted on to provide a defensive presence alongside Nylander, but to also convert on whatever chances he gets offensively.

Now there is a case to be made that Kasperi Kapanen would have been another candidate to play with Nylander, but Brown’s experience and strong two-way play has made him a prime candidate.

So what should be expected from Brown on the top line? He is someone that tries to be in the right position to contribute. He is not the flashiest player which brings a different dynamic with Nylander, who has strong play making ability.

There will be a lot of pressure on Nylander to carry the offensive load with Matthews out so Brown and Hyman will need to ease the defensive responsibility on him.