Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly
Photo credit: NHL

Maple Leafs reveal projected pairings in preparation for life without Morgan Rielly

Published February 12, 2024 at 5:31 PM
BY CODY CRAIG
As the Maple Leafs fanbase prepares for life without Morgan Rielly with his suspension looming, head coach Sheldon Keefe is one step ahead, as expected.

During Toronto's Monday morning practice, their head coach of five seasons was running pairings evidently showing that this team is ready to play some games without their number one, top defenseman Morgan Rielly.


Mark Giordano returning to practice is a great sign, while the NHL shot blocking leader has been dealing with a minor lower body injury that had kept him from playing Saturday night in the battle of Ontario.



With everyone on the blueline accounted for besides Conor Timmins, who is resting with an illness, the pairings at practice today are likely the projected pairings ahead of tomorrow night's matchup against a red hot Philadelphia Flyers team.


It appears that T.J. Brodie is shifting to his natural side on the left. Timothy Liljegren joins him while being given another opportunity in a top-four role. Simon Benoit and Jake McCabe will hold the fort as the second pairing but will likely see an increase in minutes as well. If Mark Giordano is ready to go tomorrow night, he will be paired up with William Lagesson. If the 40-year-old veteran is unable to suit up, we could see Maxime Lajoie play in his first game with the Maple Leafs since Dec. 12th.

Morgan Rielly's position as quarterback on the top powerplay unit is temporarily open and it looks like Jake McCabe is getting a huge opportunity to fill the role.


Nobody in this league chooses to be without their top defenseman, but with a suspension evident for Morgan Rielly, it will be all hands on deck with the Maple Leafs playing in three games this week and four the following week.

On a positive note, Morgan Rielly will be given a chance to get some additional rest while the depth receive more opportunities to prove their worth as the Toronto Maple Leafs fight for a playoff spot.
POLL
12 February   |   798 answers
Maple Leafs reveal projected pairings in preparation for life without Morgan Rielly

Should the Maple Leafs trade for a defenseman this week with a Morgan Rielly suspension looming?

Yes, we need all the help we can get34443.1 %
No, our supporting cast will manage15419.3 %
Don't overpay because of desperation30037.6 %
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