Mitch Marner fires a puck on net during warmups
Photo credit: NHL

Sheldon Keefe shocks fans by announcing significant lineup changes minutes before the game

Published January 14, 2024 at 7:59 PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs have officially put their forward lines in the blender on the second half of a back-to-back tonight against the Detroit Red Wings after dropping a 5-3 decision against the Avalanche on Saturday.

The biggest beneficiary of tonight's lineup changes is Pontus Holmberg, who moves up to play on the top line with Auston Matthews and William Nylander. The biggest faller of the group is rookie winger Matthew Knies, who played one of his worst games as a Leaf last night. As a result of his performance and Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe trying to take advantage of some easier matchups, Knies drops to the 4th line tonight.

Nicholas Robertson also finds himself in a position to succeed tonight, as Keefe has penciled Robertson in on the 2nd line with John Tavares and Calle Jarnkrok.

If you've noticed that I haven't mentioned Mitch Marner yet, it's because Marner has slipped down into the bottom six as well. Marner is playing the right flank for Max Domi, with Tyler Bertuzzi also dropping down to the 3rd line.

Here's a look at the foward lines tonight:

Holmberg — Matthews — Nylander Robertson — Tavares — Järnkrok Bertuzzi — Domi — Marner
Knies — Kämpf — Gregor

If nothing else, this is Sheldon Keefe sending his players a message. Strong performances will be rewarded, while weaker performances may land you with a bit of a demotion. Honestly, this is the way it should be. I'm happy to see it.

January 14   |   915 answers
Sheldon Keefe shocks fans by announcing significant lineup changes minutes before the game

Will the Leafs secure home ice advantage in the playoffs again this year?

Yes10911.9 %
No52757.6 %
At this rate, they might even be a Wild Card team27930.5 %
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