Bertuzzi unavailable, Robertson and Timmins stay in, and Woll progressing well: Leafs Practice Notes

Photo credit:© Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Mazzei
5 months ago
The Leafs will be without one of their top-six forwards tonight when they host the Jets for the first of a home-and-home tilt.
Tyler Bertuzzi was absent from yesterday’s practice as he and his wife are expecting, and Sheldon Keefe adjusted the lines under the assumption that the Sudbury native would not be available for tonight’s game. Now that it has been confirmed, you can expect the lines to closely align with what was rolled out during said practice.
What is notable about these lines is that both Nick Robertson and Conor Timmins find themselves remaining in the lineup for the first time in about a month. Robertson especially had a solid showing against the Kraken on Sunday which included scoring the game-winner, which warranted Keefe to give him another game even with Bertuzzi being away from the team for tonight.
Robertson has found himself stuck in the doghouse despite putting up decent offensive numbers due to his defensive shortcomings. Being fully healthy for the first time in his NHL career is certainly a great sign given all the setbacks he has faced over the past few years, but that means he now has to learn on the fly because of the constant interruptions to his development. While there are concerns the frequent scratches and low ice time might mean he might be moved at some point, the Leafs certainly have faith he can be an impactful player and they will need more success stories like him from within.
As for Timmins, my guess is he is being utilized more to ease the burden off Mark Giordano who has had a rough few weeks of inconsistent play. Having said that, this is certainly a head-scratcher given the defensive miscues he has had in his last few appearances when William Lagesson, who is generally more responsible in his own end, has been stuck in the press box. With Brad Treliving continuing to hunt for improvements on the back end, it would not surprise me to see Timmins, Giordano, and Lagesson rotate in and out of the lineup to see what they would like to maintain and who they would be open to trading or sending down to the Marlies.
One player who likely won’t be available for tonight’s game is Ryan Reaves, who is fresh off being removed from injured reserve. He has been out of the lineup since December 14th when he suffered a knee injury. This reinstatement could be the precursor to an impending move that results in Reaves being off the roster either via trade or waivers., so don’t expect him to be back in the fold anytime soon.
More clarity on Joseph Woll’s status was provided this morning as he could return to practice as soon as after the All-Star break. While an exact timeline for his reinstatement was not disclosed by Keefe, it is certainly encouraging to know that the starter is well on his way to a full recovery.
Once he is cleared to play, the Leafs are going to have to make a decision on which of Ilya Samsonov or Martin Jones will stay with the big club. Samsonov was already placed on waivers at the height of his struggles and went unclaimed though the time away seems to have helped renewed some confidence in his game. Jones has been carrying the bulk of the starts since Woll got injured and to say that it’s been hit or miss during that stretch would be putting it lightly. One week he is lights out allowing only three goals in four starts, the next he was in the net for three of the four games where the Leafs blew multi-goal leads.
There is no telling who is ultimately going to get the edge by the time Woll is ready, so these next few weeks will be interesting to watch in terms of the goaltending.
The Leafs return home from their four-game road trip tonight for a tilt against the Jets, where you can catch the action on Sportsnet at 7 p.m. EST.

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