VANCOUVER — The Toronto Maple Leafs lineup received a contemporary dose of the acquainted whereas injecting some new life up entrance because the crew tries to snap out of a three-game dropping streak.
Auston Matthews and William Nylander had been full individuals at Rogers Enviornment on Saturday.
Matthews missed the final sport with an harm head coach Sheldon Keefe mentioned was “related however not the identical” because the ailment that pressured the NHL’s main scorer to overlook three video games earlier than lacking a fourth on Thursday.
Nylander skated along with his teammates for the primary time since coming into quarantine final week. He got here into contact with somebody who later examined optimistic for COVID-19.
“We’ll need to see how they really feel after skating at present,” Keefe mentioned. “They received by means of the apply properly at present in order that’s clearly a really optimistic signal, however we can’t know their official standing for the sport till we see how they’re on the the rest of the day and the way they get up tomorrow.”
Nylander took half within the morning skate along with his teammates on Apr. 7 earlier than their 3-2 win towards the Montreal Canadiens. Nylander later confirmed on the NHL’s COVID-19 record and the crew put out a press release that the participant was pulled from the lineup as a consequence of “publicity to a potential optimistic case with an in depth contact outdoors the crew”.
“We received again from the street and I met anyone who examined optimistic for COVID the following day,” Nylander mentioned. “So I needed to isolate for 9 days and had 9 nights of assessments. Now I am right here.”
The potential return of each Matthews and Nylander allowed the Leafs to revive some normalcy to their lineup. Throughout the Saturday skate, each gamers had been on their common first and second traces, respectively. They had been additionally grouped collectively on the crew’s first power-play unit. Toronto loaded up the unit with Mitch Marner and John Tavares.
The Maple Leafs are 1-for-42 on the ability play over their final 17 video games.
“We in all probability would have gone to it sooner had we not misplaced Will and Auston,” Keefe mentioned about placing the band again collectively. “We have been speaking about this look, going again with it for some time now however that received disrupted.
“The timing is correct right here now.”
Matthews has 32 objectives and 21 assists in 40 video games this season. Nylander has 13 objectives and 17 assists in 39 video games.
Robertson strikes up
With two offensive weapon nearing a return, Nick Robertson has not solely escaped the chopping block however has moved additional up the lineup.
Robertson discovered himself skating on a wing with Nylander and John Tavares.
“I feel the very first thing, with me, that jumps out is how onerous he works,” Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly mentioned of Robertson. “In apply, he simply needs to get higher, needs to place the time in to work onerous, he skates with a lot energy.”
Robertson has one help in 4 video games.
Though this is a wonderful alternative to for Robertson, it is not clear that this may be a long-term transfer. When Nick Foligno wraps up quarantine, I feel the second-line left wing spot is the place he finally ends up. That is to not recommend Robertson hasn’t earned the promotion. But when the Leafs do find yourself making some strikes roster strikes to unencumber area to activate Frederik Andersen off LTI earlier than the playoffs (extra on that later), eradicating Robertson and assigning him to the taxi squad is one in every of their least riskiest strikes.
Pierre Engvall is the person on the surface wanting in. He has three objectives and 5 assists in 35 video games this season, however discovered himself benched for a part of Monday’s sport in Montreal. He has one help in his final 10 video games.
Engvall carries a cap hit of $1.25 million and the crew could make $1.075 million in area accessible by taking him off the roster. Engvall requires waivers as he’s not exempt after present process the method earlier than the common season began.
Frederik Andersen skated earlier than apply with goaltending coach Steve Briere. He was put by means of the paces by engaged on a variety of side-to-side movement within the aim.
He is nonetheless a good distance from being on the radar to return to the lineup as he’ll must get some practices in, however his arrival on the street was an indication that it could possibly be an choice later within the week.
Because it stands proper now, the Leafs do not have room to activate Andersen off LTI earlier than the playoffs. The crew would want to shed no less than $3.2 million in cap area, in line with PuckPedia.com.
Other than Robertson, transferring different gamers off the lineup requires waivers and that is the place issues get difficult.
Rasmus Sandin took half in apply to carry the defensemen participation depend to a season-high 9 gamers.
Sandin performed in a single sport with the Leafs because the crew’s seventh defenseman earlier than he was despatched right down to the Marlies the place he suffered a foot fracture throughout the minor league crew’s season debut.
“I undoubtedly had needed to see him play for us right here earlier than the season wraps up,” Keefe mentioned “The hope was that he’d get important time with Marlies and minutes there to essentially rise up and operating.”
The American Hockey League had postponed three Marlies video games as a consequence of COVID-19 and the Leafs had introduced some gamers on this street journey that might in any other case be with the minor-league membership.
Keefe does not really feel Sandin is able to return to lineup fairly but. It is possible he’ll return to the Marlies as soon as the crew is cleared to renew actions.