Mark Giordano turning up the ice to join the play
Photo credit: Yahoo Sports

Leafs reveal two pretty significant healthy scratches

Published January 24, 2024 at 11:25

After a couple of days off following a lengthy Western road trip, the Leafs are back in action tonight, hosting the Winnipeg Jets in the first half of a home-and-home series, which will have the Leafs in Winnipeg on Saturday night to lead them up to their bye week and the following All-Star weekend.

The Leafs split their 4-game road trip, going 2-2, with wins over Calgary and Seattle and losses to Edmonton and Vancouver. There were some positives and some negatives on the trip, with the most obvious negatives being the huge dip in play from 3rd string netminder Martin Jones, who allowed a combined 9 goals against Edmonton and Vancouver and that the team blew another multi-goal lead in Edmonton. The biggest positive on the trip was the play of Ilya Samsonov, who appears to be re-gaining his confidence at the perfect time for the Leafs, leading to a huge start tonight against the Jets.

Sheldon Keefe met with the media following practice on Wednesday morning, confirming that forward Tyler Bertuzzi would not play tonight as he and his wife await the birth of their second child. The Leafs' bench boss also confirmed that 40-year-old Mark Giordano would be a healthy scratch again tonight, with Conor Timmins drawing in.

Keefe told the media that he and the coaching staff haven't been too keen on the fact that they have so many left shots in the lineup. He suggested that the primary reason for re-inserting Timmins into the lineup was to better balance out the left shot/right shot equation.

"We have been feeling like we could utilize an extra right shot to help us with our puck movement on the breakout, coming out of the neutral zone, on our regroups and at the offensive blue line." - Keefe on scratching Giordano in favour of the right-handed Timmins

Timmins has been limited to just 15 games this season, partly due to the significant injury that he had suffered during the pre-season, which kept him out of the lineup long-term. Now that he's back, he's been used only sparingly, as the Leafs looked to build some chemistry and consistency on the back end.

Playing Timmins could also act as a bit of a showcase ahead of the trade deadline. It will give other teams a chance to see Timmins play some games and show off his skills. The offensive-minded blueliner may be an enticing piece for another team in search of a young blueliner with some offensive upside.

Timmins has often been relegated to the role of #7 or #8 defenseman, which could point to an incoming trade if teams like what they see. Conversely, if Timmins can come in and make a huge impact on the blueline, it may make someone else on the roster expendable.

January 24   |   529 answers
Leafs reveal two pretty significant healthy scratches

Should the Leafs trade Conor Timmins before the deadline?

Yes, he's way down on the depth chart23143.7 %
No, we need D depth for the playoffs29856.3 %
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