One of the things that could be seen from miles away is the inevitable controversy over who would be scratched on the Leafs blueline as the Leafs carry nine NHL defenseman and come to the realization that an 11F/7D model doesn’t work when your coach loves rolling four lines and three pairings at even strength. We all knew that Conor Timmins would be screwed with the nine defenseman approach, but I guess there is still a bit of a surprise when it comes to Timothy Liljegren, and seeing him get scratched for two consecutive games wasn’t something Leafs fans were prepared to see at the same time when pitchforks are out for Morgan Rielly and Justin Holl.
Sheldon Keefe probably didn’t help things with this comment:
Sheldon Keefe on Timothy Liljegren:
“He’s an important guy for us, but, as I’ve talked to him about … our team is deeper on defence now. The standard is higher in terms of staying in. He was in a similar situation last season.”
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) March 7, 2023
Now, I’ll start with the fact that this isn’t some form of attack on the defenseman, I do think to some extent it is a coach taking the easy way out. As he begins to sit defensemen from time to time, it probably made sense for him to start with the youngest one in the current lineup. Also, the one that took a tough hit that almost made it seem like Liljegren would be questionable for the first game he was scratched for an …
Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation