Knies hurt, Samsonov returns, and Giordano has a maintenance day: Leafs Practice Notes

Photo credit:Steven Ellis/Daily Faceoff
Jon Steitzer
6 months ago
Never a dull moment with the Leafs and following a 7-1 victory over the Sharks, the Leafs are already shaking things up a bit with the recall of Ilya Samsonov and they have returned Dennis Hildeby to the Marlies. More on that in a bit.
We’ll file this under things you absolutely don’t want to see and that is Matthew Knies getting helped off the ice. The injury doesn’t sound too serious, at least according to Dr. Auston Matthews, and Sheldon Keefe has stated that Matthew Knies will be traveling with the team to New York and hasn’t been ruled out for tomorrow night’s game.
In the interim, despite wearing the grey healthy scratch practice jersey, Nick Robertson got a look with Matthews and Marner on the top line for the duration of practice. That certainly doesn’t mean he is who they go with in the event that Knies can’t play but even in drills it isn’t a bad thing for Keefe to see what Robertson can look like on a top six line.
Presumably if Knies isn’t playing it will either be Robertson in the lineup but not on the top line or the Leafs will go with seven defencemen. I’d count on seeing Calle Jarnkrok play the bulk of the game in that spot but I also wouldn’t hate seeing Max Domi get some time with his bros.
The Leafs wasted no time in getting Samsonov back on the ice and that’s to be expected otherwise they would have taken care of the transaction after Dennis Hildeby went through the practice with the Leafs. It seems like a ten-day reset without anything of significant note process wise for Samsonov is putting a lot of faith in the belief that he just needed a break. And while I don’t doubt the break from the pressures of the Leafs is part of what he needed; it seems foolish to say that he’s anywhere near ready at this point to take on regular starts.
Since Jones is now looking like a viable NHL goaltender for the Leafs this season there should be some concerns about how often they are going to him and consider resting the 33 year old a bit more than they initially planned at the time of Samsonov’s demotion.  Jones could find himself as the best option for the Leafs in net at the start of the playoffs if Woll can’t match his pre-injury performance.  The Leafs are still not providing a timeline on Woll’s return other than saying it will still be a while even though he’s resumed some skating.
With the Leafs having two interesting options at 7th and 8th on their defensive depth chart with Lagesson and Timmins, it seems like it might be worth their while to give Giordano a game off tomorrow night as well. If the Leafs see Giordano as who they still want in their top six come playoff time, load management beyond just practices seems like the way to go.
Lagesson took Giordano’s spot for the practice, playing alongside Timothy Liljegren. It doesn’t seem like a bad idea to get a bit more of a look at Lagesson and Timmins when they can but also appreciate that rocking the boat during a four game win streak after half the city calling for Keefe’s head before the road swing means Toronto won’t be looking to make any lineup changes they don’t have to.
A couple of other notes: Ryan Reaves practiced again but still hasn’t been activated from the injured reserve and Noah Gregor has returned from the illness that kept him out of the lineup against the Sharks on Tuesday night. He was back on his usual line with Kampf and McMann.
The Leafs play tomorrow night on Long Island before returning home for their back-to-back games against Colorado and Detroit on the weekend.

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