Wed. Aug 10th, 2022

Columnist image

The Leafs held an optional skate at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday.

After missing two games earlier in the week with a calf injury, defender Travis Dermott returns to the Leafs lineup tonight.

“I’m eager to see him in there,” coach Sheldon Keefe said.

The 24-year-old, who is entering his fifth season with the Leafs, has struggled to stand out during training camp.

“I’m still waiting and I’ve had this conversation with Travis so he can take the next step,” Keefe said. “Right now he is still in that mix with [Rasmus] Sandin and [Timothy] Lily branch, and at this point he wants to be a guy who is more established and takes that step. We’re still looking for that. ”

Dermott started last season’s playoff series against Montreal as a healthy scratch after losing his left place to Sandin, who ended the normal season strong and found a role on the top power-play unit.

The departure of Zach Bogosianopened, however, a place on the right where Dermott, a left winger, has played most of the camp opposite Sandin.

“Certainly, he brings value to our group in the five, six holes,” Keefe. “He has played higher in the lineup when needed and has done a pretty good job, but I think he would like to get to the point where it is something that is consistent and we have not reached to that point yet. “

What does the next step look like for Dermott?

“Around consistency,” Keefe said. “Consistency in decision making. Consistency in [an] ability to play physically and be tough on opponents and consistency in being invoked as a penalty killer and taking consistent minutes there. You are looking for a young player who can really grab a role and identity for what they bring to the team. ”

Dermott found himself skating with Alex runs, who were put on dispensations on Saturday, during the last two exercises, while Liljegren joined Swede Sandin on the third pair.

The lily branch will be a scratch tonight, but has solidified like the next man up in case anyone should get hurt or stagger.

“We are very sure of that,” Keefe confirmed. “It’s the only thing we were hoping for here in camp that he could show us he could play when we need him and that’s really where we are, so in that sense it’s been a success. camp.”

Keefe noted that last season at this point, Liljegren, a 22-year-old right-winger, was probably No. 9 or 10 on the depth map.

“He’s developed well,” Keefe said. “He has done the things we have asked him to do.”

Toronto’s first round pick (17th overall) in 2017, Liljegren has a fan in the new assistant coach Dean Chynoweth, who works with the defense.

“It’s been nice to see,” Keefe said, “that a guy who looks fresh on it believes in him and wants him around and be a part of things. If you’re a young player, you’re happy to have it, to have a coach at the back who believes in you. ”

Dermott is still looking for consistency as Liljegren pushes up Leaf’s depth map

Sheldon Keefe says Timothy Liljegren has developed well throughout the camp and stresses the importance of consistency for other Leafs defender Travis Dermott.

With Auston Matthews still sideline, the Leafs will get a look at newcomers David is struggling in the top spot middle spot during their pre-season finale.

“Playing against other teams’ best guys is a role Kampf will be able to take on for us at different times, so it makes sense to put him in there,” Keefe explained.

Kampf only scored one goal in 56 games last season with the Chicago Blackhawks, so he may seem like a weird choice to play between Nick Ritchie and Mitch Marner, but Keefe sees something offensive upward in the 26-year-old.

“He wants to take a step there and we’re looking to help him in that process,” Keefe said. “He has a good set of skills. He can make a game. He gets the puck back, and because of how he defends, he makes the puck go offensively a lot.”

Kampf has played in line with Czech colleague and good friend Ondrej Kase earlier at the camp, and Keefe is already familiar with the chemistry there.

Matthews, meanwhile, is listed as the daily as he works his way back from left wrist surgery, and his status for Wednesday’s regular season opener remains in the air. As a result, the puzzle is still with its advancing group.

Another change tonight will be veteran experience Jason Spezza, who has played on the wing of the camp, slides into midfield on the fourth line.

“It’s obviously a big part of his versatility,” Keefe said, “to be able to do that.”

Leafs Ice Chips: Fight gets look with Ritchie-Marner

The Maple Leafs end their preseason tonight against the Senators, giving the coaches one last chance to experiment. Sheldon Keefe will do just that and put David Kampf on the top line between Nick Ritchie and Mitch Marner. Mark Masters has more.

The Leafs are adopting a more aggressive penalty kill this season, which will require more energy from players and a deeper bench. So more players are getting a shorthand shot this pre-season, including William Nylander.

“I feel like he took big steps in his game last season in terms of his attention to detail defensively,” Keefe explained. “And really, just his play without the puck in general was consistently more competitive … He’s strong. He’s fast. He has good instincts. He has a really good stick to pick up the puck, and of course he’s dangerous in the transition. We has just seen growth in him, and when we see growth in a player, we feel that his role needs to grow as well. “

Nylander has logged just six minutes and 51 seconds of shorthand ice time in 358 NHL games in his career. He can not remember the last time he consistently killed penalties, but appreciates the opportunity to get a few extra shifts.

“I like it,” Nylander said, “especially through some fights when you get a little on PK and you’re able to get out there and get moving versus sitting on the bench for an extended period of time.”

Kase also gets a look at penalty kills despite having a limited track record in that role.

“Maybe there are injuries and you need guys,” Keefe pointed out. “So having this opportunity to have the confidence that they can do it and the coaches believe in them is a really healthy thing for our team.”

Keefe added that Matthews, who got some shortened minutes early last season, would also have been in the mix for penalty killers at the camp if he had been 100 percent.

Toronto finished 24th in the penalty kill rate last season.

Leafs give Nylander permission to kill

As William Nylander gets some reps on penalty kills throughout the training camp, Sheldon Keefe sheds light on the decision, while Nylander explains why he looks forward to being on PK in the regular season. Mark Masters has more.

Projected Leafs lines for Saturday’s game:

Ritchie – Fight – Marner
Mikheyev – Tavares – Nylander
Bunting – Kerfoot – Kase
Engvall – Spezza – Simmonds

Rielly – Brodie
Muzzin – All
Sandin – Dermott

Campbell starts and plays the entire game

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.