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Leafs experimenting with an exciting new defensive pairing at practice on Friday


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Mike Armenti
September 30, 2022  (1:21 PM)
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The Leafs are expecting the newly signed Rasmus Sandin to arrive in Toronto at some point on Friday, with the 22-year-old set to undergo his pre-training camp physical ahead of his first practice with the club this weekend.

The Buds are looking pretty thin on D at the moment with several injuries, so they've had to get a bit creative. During Wednesday's game against the Canadiens, head coach Sheldon Keefe actually had Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot playing shifts on defense thanks to injuries to Carl Dahlstrom and Jordie Benn early in the game. Keefe also announced that he could look to utilize Mitch Marner on the blueline in certain situations.
One bright spot this week is the return of Jake Muzzin to practice with the main group. Muzzin had missed all 3 of the Leafs' preseason contests so far with a back issue that has had to be managed in the past, but it looks as though he'll be in line for some game action as soon as Monday. He also may have a new D partner.
Morgan Rielly had volunteered to take some reps on the right side during practice on Thursday to give the Leafs some additional flexibility, and it would appear as though he Buds are actually entertaining the idea of giving Mo a run on the right side. This morning during practice, he was paired with Muzzin.
Rielly attempted the play on the right side earlier on in his career and even tested the water a few seasons back on his weak side. While the experiment was a resounding failure in the past, perhaps a more mature Morgan Rielly will find success with it. He has a pretty good tutor in T.J. Brodie if he needs one.
POLL
30 SEPTEMBRE   |   322 ANSWERS
Leafs experimenting with an exciting new defensive pairing at practice on Friday

Will a Jake Muzzin/Morgan Rielly pairing sink or swim this season?

We've tried this before.. didn't work13943.2 %
This time it will work!5918.3 %
They'll tread water until everyone's healthy12438.5 %
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