Morgan Rielly
Photo credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Leafs running an intriguing experiment, which will directly impact Morgan Rielly

Published March 18, 2024 at 5:00 PM

It's no secret that the Leafs' power play has been downright awful lately. In fact, over their last 10 games, the Leafs are converting on a dismal 11.5% of their opportunities. In their last 5 games, three of which played without Mitch Marner, the Leafs have only managed a single power play marker. This is extremely worrying due to the fact that several of the Leafs' playoff heartbreaks over the past few years can be blamed, at least in part, on a struggling power play. They desperately need to figure things out before the post season begins.

Today at practice, it was clear that Sheldon Keefe still isn't satisfied with the powerplay, and as a result, there will be a major shakeup in the deployment of the powerplay units for Tuesday's game in Philly. It's about time, if you ask me.

Tyler Bertuzzi, who should never have been taken off the top unit, was back up where he belongs with the top group on Monday at practice. He was joined by Auston Matthews, William Nylander, John Tavares and Timothy Liljegren. Yes, you read that right, Morgan Rielly has been demoted to PP2 quarterback, where he'll join Max Domi, Bobby McMann, Matthew Knies and Nicholas Robertson.

As much as I dislike seeing Rielly demoted, I don't mind Keefe making changes and tinkering here. The Leafs are essentially locked into third in the Atlantic, so why not give some different guys some different looks? This will also get Timothy Liljegren some extra ice time in the offensive zone, allowing him to build some extra confidence.

The Leafs' special teams, both the penalty kill and the powerplay, have struggled mightily in recent weeks, so giving things a shake up might give the PP a shot in the arm. Of course, with the PK, it doesn't help matters that the Leafs are missing their top 2 penalty killers in Mitch Marner and Calle Jarnkrok, so the struggles may still persist there for awhile.

March 18   |   700 answers
Leafs running an intriguing experiment, which will directly impact Morgan Rielly

What is the Leafs biggest concern right now?

Power play23333.3 %
Penalty kill16323.3 %
5v5 team defence29742.4 %
Goaltending71 %
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