Timothy Liljegren is nearing a return to the Maple Leafs but needs to build up conditioning

Photo credit:© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Mazzei
6 months ago
The Leafs will soon be getting some much-needed reinforcement on the backend as Timothy Liljgren’s return to the lineup is imminent.
While the exact day of his return was not declared, it’s safe to say based on Sheldon Keefe’s assessment that the Swedish defencemen could be back in the lineup by next week. That means he will remain out for tonight’s game against the Blue Jackets and most likely not be available for Saturday’s tilt against the Penguins while it’s safe to assume his return will be on Tuesday against the Rangers.
With Mark Giordano still weeks away from his return and John Klingberg shut down for the season, getting Liljegren back will be a huge boost for the Leafs. No doubt they have gotten a lot out of the fringe options who have stepped up nicely, but Liljegren is a critical component of their defensive success so his return will be a significant help.
This means a roster move will be forthcoming in the days ahead as the Leafs will work to insert him back into the fold. Simon Benoit and William Lagesson have performed well since getting the callup and I can’t envision either of them going back to the Marlies at this time. Expect Maxime Lajoie to return to the AHL soon given that he was sent down in a paper move this morning and was already getting limited minutes.
Liljegren has been out for six weeks with a high ankle sprain after getting injured from a trip by Bruins captain Brad Marchand. He is currently on LTIR and his return will mean the Leafs cap space will clock in at around $1.6 million so they won’t have much flexibility to make a trade at this time.
Prior to his ailment, the pending RFA had appeared in 10 games and recorded one assist in that span.
Stats from Hockey-Reference.com. Salary information from CapFriendly.
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