Although Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Timothy Liljegren has been a healthy scratch for the past two games, it appears as though he will return to the lineup tomorrow night against the New Jersey Devils. TSN’s Mark Masters is reporting that Liljegren will pair alongside Morgan Rielly as head coach Sheldon Keefe moves back to a 12-6 alignment.
Scratching Liljegren seemed unlikely just as a few months ago after he went eight straight games without being on the ice for a 5v5 goal against. Liljegren was even profiled in a piece from Luke Fox of Sportsnet a few days after he assisted on a Mitch Marner OT game winning goal against the New York Rangers. In the article, Keefe and Liljegren’s teammates praised his steady play, and his ability to make reads in the offensive zone.
However, the former first round pick has struggled as of late with just two points in his last 12 games, including going pointless in 10 straight. This drop in play coincided with multiple roster moves that left the young Swedish defenseman on the outside looking in when the dust of the trade deadline settled.
Liljegren will now have another opportunity to show that he belongs on the ice and not in the press box, as he pairs up with top defenseman Rielly. Keefe also said it is possible that Liljegren will see time on the powerplay, a role that he has not seen much of this year having played just 20 powerplay minutes all season long.
Can he play Center?
+24 and he is being benched? Yeah that’s a guy you want playing in the playoffs. not someone who thinks he’s a forward but should be a defenseman