Today the Leafs announced that Cody Ceci is back and will play against the Anaheim Ducks in a late game. They then sent Timothy Liljegren back to the AHL (although we assume he’s flying back with the Leafs, not walking home).
There is no roster or cap reason why Liljegren had to be cut. There is no roster limit now, and with him on the roster, they still have over $4 million in LTIR pool. Jake Muzzin has never been put on LTIR, it seems, but as soon as Morgan Rielly is healthy, someone would have had to be cut. With Liljegren gone, the Leafs have a $92,000 cushion to reactivate Rielly.
Looking ahead, that means someone has to leave for Ilya Mikheyev to be able to join the land of the healthy too. That’s tomorrow’s problem, today, the main reason why Liljegren is the first to go is that he needs to be playing hockey, a lot of hockey, and he hasn’t been in the NHL.
In 11 games played in the NHL, Liljegren has 10.29 minutes per game. In the AHL, he will anchor the top pair and the first unit of the power play and play some PK as well. He needs to be doing that.
Now, obviously, if he was trusted to play a bigger role in the NHL, he would be fine there developing his talents. His Expected Goals % at five-on-five is 35.6, which ties him with Nick Shore for the worst on the Leafs. Unlike Shore, he has played mostly with Sandin, Alexander Kerfoot, John Tavares and Kasperi Kapanen.
The Marlies are currently struggling in a race for a playoff spot they can win, but they need all the help they can get.
The assumption is that Rasmus Sandin will be the only scratch tonight, and Ceci will play with Calle Rosen.
With stats from Evolving Hockey and Natural Stat Trick, and cap numbers from Cap Friendly.