Photo credit:Steven Ellis/Daily Faceoff
Liljegren returns, Brodie out, Holmberg up, and more: Leafs Practice Notes
By Jon Steitzer2 months ago
The Leafs didn’t practice yesterday, I mean why would they after giving up six against the Blue Jackets? I kid, I kid, everyone needs a day off. The Leafs left a lot to be desired in their last outing but the changes we are seeing in their lineup look to be more out of necessity than addressing their shortcomings. Save for the starting goaltender…
This seems like a bit of a no-brainer when it comes to decisions. There might have been some interest in throwing Samsonov back in there and proving he’s not the goalie that got rocked early, but the reality is it is probably better for the Leafs to see what they have in Martin Jones and I’d assume we’ll see a fairly regular split between Samsonov and Jones until Woll returns.
The last thing the Leafs defence needs is the departure of TJ Brodie but the flu cares not for what is convenient and the blueline situation should be interesting. Considering they gave up six last game and are now putting eggs in the Martin Jones basket against Crosby, Malkin, and Karlsson, this could be an interesting night.
Holmberg being called up is a result of the Ryan Reaves injury and it doesn’t look like we’ll see Holmberg in the lineup tonight. It seems that Brad Treliving very much has a call up pecking order and Holmberg is the option after McMann. Presumably it is Steeves next and thankfully the Leafs forward group hasn’t been hit hard enough to see who comes after that but it would likely be Gambrell or Abruzzese.
With Brodie’s departure there is some relief as Timothy Liljegren has stated he’s ready to go and the Leafs certainly need him. The fact that he immediately will slot in on the top pairing shows how important he is at this point but I wonder if the Leafs will manage his icetime, perhaps giving Timmins some offensive zone starts or lean into Jake McCabe as much as they can to ease Timothy back in.
The Leafs also see the return of Matthew Knies to the lineup which bumps Noah Gregor back down to the fourth line. Gregor did an adequate fill-in job and it is nice to see the Leafs can utilize him that way but he is most certainly a bottom six forward and having Knies back is a great sign for the Leafs.
It will be interesting to see if the Leafs go with 11F/7D to help ease Liljegren in or if Toronto wants to see more of the Kampf line which is starting to see more like the third line than the fourth of late. No matter what it doesn’t seem that Holmberg will slot in and he could just be an important reserve option in case someone is also on the verge of catching the flu.
All of these changes make for an interesting night as Kyle Dubas returns to Toronto. It would be nice if their ex was seeing the Leafs at their best but it’s not as if the Penguins have been setting the world on fire either.
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