Timothy Liljegren
Photo credit: NHL

Keefe appears to indicate that the Leafs' patience is running thin with young defenseman

Published March 10, 2024 at 11:26

The Toronto Maple Leafs made a number of lineup changes ahead of Saturday's game against the Montreal Canadiens. Debuting four new forward lines, the biggest surprise may have been that Simon Benoit was a healthy scratch in favour of keeping Timothy Liljegren in on the blueline.

Liljegren's placement in the lineup over Benoit was justified by Sheldon Keefe in that he felt it was important to have a second right-shot in the lineup. Keefe, however, was not thrilled to sit Benoit, especially in Montreal, and let it be known when speaking to the media following the morning skate.

"Just looking at it, I feel like we need Liljegren's right shot. We also want to put Liljegren with Edmundson to see how it can come together for us. This is an important time in Liljegren's development for us to settle in. We are through the trade deadline. We know what our group looks like. We will give Lily a chance to grow within the role and with Edmundson.

We like how the other pairs are set up. That is really it. Quite frankly, it kills me to have to sit Benoit tonight, especially in this building, but I didn't make the schedule and it is what is necessary for our team tonight."

Benoit has quickly become a fan favourite in his first season with the Leafs, and based on Keefe's comments, a coach favourite as well. Liljegren, on the other hand, has struggled mightily the past few games and is getting closer and closer to landing in the press box despite the Leafs' need for a right-handed shot.

Judging by Keefe's comments, he'll give Liljegren every opportunity to try to turn things around this season, but with the playoffs fast approaching , it will be up to Liljegren to make he most of his opportunity and lock down a roster spot for Game 1 of the playoffs. If he doesn't, though, the Leafs will have Simon Benoit chomping at the bit to take his spot.

March 10   |   470 answers
Keefe appears to indicate that the Leafs' patience is running thin with young defenseman

Are you surprised by Keefe's reason for scratching Benoit?

Yes31266.4 %
No15833.6 %
Latest 10 stories