Jones gets the start against his former team, Robertson sits again: Leafs Practice Notes

Photo credit:Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Steitzer
6 months ago
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That is understandably the direction the Leafs are going in net at the moment. After shaky outings from Ilya Samsonov, the stable presence of Martin Jones has been a breath of fresh air and Sheldon Keefe has little interest in rocking the boat when the Leafs need these wins.
Jones has given up just one goal in the first two games of the road trip and has improved to a .930 save percentage.
Returning to San Jose where Jones played most of his career will make for an interesting Saturday night storyline. Jones had a .896 save percentage in each of his last three seasons in San Jose which is remarkably consistent but also remarkably awful. I’m sure Jones would love to remind the Sharks that he isn’t that bad when he’s got a strong team in front of him.
At this point it is likely that the Leafs are targeting next Sunday as a potential start for Dennis Hildeby as it will be the second half of a back-to-back. If it is any sooner it might come on the road against the Islanders, as Keefe has consistently debuted goaltenders on the road rather than at home and never on a Saturday night.
Leafs look to be running back the lines that worked well against Anaheim. No real surprise there but it doesn’t eliminate the storylines.
If Toronto plans on keeping Timmins and Lagesson around the Leafs, they’ll need to find opportunities to get them some reps. The San Jose Sharks represent a great opportunity to play that duo and give Giordano a night off and likely Benoit as well, though he doesn’t seem interested in coming out and Giordano would have had more rest than he likes during his injury. Still, they’ll have to play at some point soon.
Nick Robertson also sits and while it is understandable as both he and Max Domi seem to have been less effective of late, he was creeping back onto the scoresheet and finding opportunities to see what he can do should still be the plan rather than punish him for what he isn’t doing. Again, a couple of games against San Jose seems like a good opportunity to revisit some things that worked briefly, and it would have been nice to see Robertson-Domi-Marner as a trio.
With Gregor returning to San Jose after the Sharks didn’t qualify him this summer it would have also been nice to see him bumped up to the Domi line to play with Max and Jarnkrok and give him a shot at creating some offence against his former club. I don’t doubt that Kampf and Gregor will play more than Domi and Holmberg anyway, but depending on how the game goes it would be nice to see Keefe lean on a player that should have an ax to grind.
Beyond that the Leafs are still in a situation where Reaves is sitting. It seemed likely that would happen through the entirety of the road trip and even if Reaves isn’t activated for the Leafs home game against the Sharks next week, I would be shocked if he isn’t active for the next road game against the Islanders. He has been in full practices with the team throughout the road trip, so presumably he’s ready to go as soon as they want to play him. It’s just a demotion will be required for one of Holmberg, McMann, Lagesson, Timmins, or Robertson at that time. Holmberg and Robertson do not require waivers.
The Leafs play tomorrow night against the Sharks, with puck drop at 7pm ET.

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