The SHL season is only two-games old, but Timothy Liljegren’s team, Rögle, has had a very rough start.
They opened the season with a 5-0 loss to Malmö, a middle ranked team last year. They followed that up with a game against newly promoted Mora, and lost that 5-1.
They sit last in the league, and their -9 goal differential is five worse than their nearest competition for the basement. Last year, Rögle finished second last and had to compete to stave off relegation. They look headed in the same direction this year.
While a bad team might offer ice time to a young player, how bad is too bad?
One of Rögle’s defenders, Alen Bibic, said this after the most recent loss:
It's hell. They rush over us repeatedly and come as a tsunami all the time. There is not much right out there for us. It's about basic things in ice hockey, we're not doing it right. They are skating more than us, what the hell do we do?
Every bastard must look in the mirror, even me. Everybody should step forward.
There’s such a thing as too bad a team for a young player, even if it does mean you get a big role and play the big minutes. Carl Grundström did not thrive in the freefalling MODO, and the Leafs know it.
I don’t think there was much chance before the SHL season started that the Leafs would opt to send Liljegren back. Now it seems impossible to believe. But two games is just two games, and they might right their ship. In the meantime, the Leafs have weeks yet to decide.