Conor Timmins
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Reinforcements are on the way in Toronto; difficult decisions ahead for Sheldon Keefe

Published March 7, 2024 at 8:28

The Toronto Maple Leafs are slowly getting the roster back to full health after going through a stretch where multiple players have missed time due to injury. Defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin was back in the lineup for Monday's 4-1 loss by the Boston Bruins, avoiding a potentially serious injury after ending up on the wrong end of a devastating hit by New York Rangers forward Matt Rempe that caused the Russian blueliner to miss the third period of Saturday's game.

With the Leafs getting healthier as the playoffs approach, more help is on the way as defenseman Conor Timmins was cleared to resume contact as he anticipates a return. Timmins had a great preseason, scoring six points in the three games he appeared in, quickly making him a front-runner for an opening night lineup spot. Unfortunately for Timmins, he hasn't been able to stay healthy and a lower-body injury and a bout with mononucleosis has derailed his season.

Timmins has displayed, in small glimpses, why he was taken 32nd overall during the 2017 draft, showing off his offensive awareness, clean passes out of the zone and a sneaky good shot from the point. It is his defensive awareness that has held him back from taking the next step. It's clear with his ice time that head coach Sheldon Keefe doesn't trust Timmins as much as some of his other options.

In other good news, veteran defenseman Mark Giordano and forward David Kampf were on the ice this morning for the optional skate as well, in anticipation for Toronto's game tonight against the Buffalo Sabres.

The 40-year-old Giordano suffered a concussion during the Leafs' 4-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes on February 29th. Giordano crashed hard into the end boards following a scoring attempt and needed help getting back up. Giordano has played in 38 games this season scoring 1 goal and 8 points while averaging 16:41 in ice time.

As for Kampf, he appeared in the Leafs' loss on Monday night but missed practice Tuesday with an illness. Kampf signed a new four-year contract in Toronto this summer with a raise of $2.4M AAV. With a raise comes higher expectations and this season Kampf has failed to live up to them. The Czech pivot isn't a big scorer nor does he really possess any flashy skills. He is more known for his sound defensive game and PK abilities, but this season there have been some defensive lapses in his game.

Head coach Sheldon Keefe made Kampf a healthy scratch in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes on December 30th to try and give the veteran center a reset. In 57 games this season he has scored 5 goals and 11 points. After originally being expected to miss last night's game, Kampf ended up playing against the Sabres.

The Maple Leafs are getting healthy at the right time with the team having a busy schedule this week with three games in the next four days. With everyone getting healthier, though, it brings forth a new problem in Toronto, which is how the minutes are divided. Add another layer of complexity to that due to the potential addition of more players at the trade deadline and it can make things even more challenging for the coaching staff to manage. However, it's a good plan to have.
March 7   |   410 answers
Reinforcements are on the way in Toronto; difficult decisions ahead for Sheldon Keefe

Which Leaf would you trade most to clear cap space if you were Brad Treliving?

David Kampf7017.1 %
Conor Timmins7518.3 %
T.J. Brodie26564.6 %
Other00 %
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