Liljegren skates, McCabe doesn’t, and Woll starts Tuesday: Maple Leafs practice notes

Photo credit:Steven Ellis/Daily Faceoff
Jon Steitzer
7 months ago
There was a lot of concern about the ever-depleted health situation on the Maple Leafs blueline. The news has generally been favourable though. Jake McCabe isn’t expected to miss a significant amount of time and now Timothy Liljegren is skating after leaving the game early on Saturday night.
The Leafs would find themselves in a difficult salary cap situation if they lose another player to injuries, not having enough cap space to recall anyone and having to go a player short. Toronto does have the option of sending Pontus Holmberg to the Marlies and going with the more favourable 11F/6D shorthanded lineup rather than 12F/5D but the only path to getting a full lineup would be waiving and demoting Ryan Reaves (on paper) to have the cap space for 12F/6D. None of that seems like an issue since Liljegren is skating, so crisis averted.
McCabe still being out doesn’t seem like too big a surprise either. McCabe not missing significant time doesn’t equate to Toronto rushing him back. Putting him on the injured reserve (something they could do retroactively) means that McCabe wouldn’t be available for seven days, the Leafs could either see McCabe as possibly being available Thursday or given that the Leafs wouldn’t have any cap relief from the transaction anyway they just don’t see the point in putting him on the injured reserve and restricting when he could return.
No changes in the lineup for the Leafs despite some concerns about the success of the Leafs top line becoming a topic in Leafsland. It could be that the Leafs are liking Tavares and Nylander together so much that Sheldon Keefe doesn’t have interest in a winger swap between the top two lines. And as much as Jarnkrok for Knies swap seems like it could occur, the Leafs aren’t ready for that yet either as they seem happy with the third line.
With the better showing from Ilya Samsonov on Saturday night the Leafs are back to having options in net. Woll still looks like he’s “the guy” and it seems reasonable that the Leafs will have each of their goalies go in the next two games. Woll might want to go in Boston, the city where he played his college hockey, but the choice isn’t his and Sheldon Keefe giving Woll the start against Washington shows that he isn’t letting narratives dictate who starts in which city. With Samsonov going last game it might simply be Woll’s turn against Los Angeles and Samsonov’s turn against Boston. With 5 games in the next 8 nights starting on Saturday it’s safe to say we’ll see plenty of each goaltender before the Leafs make their trip overseas for their games in Europe. Personally, I’d like to see Woll against the Bruins and Lightning to give him some of the tougher workload in the next week to see if he can continue to meet the challenge.
The Leafs play tomorrow night at home against Los Angeles before heading on the road Thursday to play the Bruins.

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