clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Leafs Practice Report: New forward lines, new numbers, and nice messages

Ondřej Kaše, time to shine!

Toronto Maple Leafs v Seattle Kraken
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 14: Ondrej Kase #25 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates a goal at the bench during the first period of a game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena on February 14, 2022 in Seattle, Washington.
Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs are getting set to play the Minnesota Wild at home tonight in the Black History Month game for the team. Practice this morning saw some new line combinations, a new number for Ilya Lyubushkin, and a nice message for prospect Rodion Amirov, who we were told yesterday is in Germany getting treatment for a brain tumor.

Black History Month game

The Leafs are celebrating Black History Month tonight against the Wild. The Leafs have a playlist on YouTube in an effort to educate and inspire, and show the changes they’ve made in their organization. The team are also wearing shirts in the pregame, it’s unclear whether they’ll have warm-up jerseys as well. I hope they do.

And finally, if you don’t know what Jamaican patties are, first of all have you been living under a rock? And second of all let Mark Fraser give you the rundown below.

Get Well Soon, Rodion

Leafs prospect Rodion Amirov was diagnosed with a brain tumor last month and is in Germany right now getting chemotherapy and skating on his own. The Leafs sent a message of support to the young forward. We have a post on this story with all the details and how you can send a message to Rodion, too.

New Lines

The Leafs are going to be running a new forward lineup tonight, with Ondřej Kaše moving up to the second line alongside Tavares and Nylander. The duo has looked good in recent days, but have lacked support and energy on second chances. Hopefully Kaše can bring that.

Alex Kerfoot has moved down to the third line alongside David Kámpf and Ilya Mikheyev.

The defense looks like it’s going to remain static for the time being, with Justin Holl the extra and Travis Dermott in.

Rielly - Brodie
Sandin - Lyubushkin
Dermott - Liljegren

Holl was skating with the team’s development staff this morning before practice, likely in a bid to get his game back on track. I think this can help him a lot. It also indicates to me that the Leafs are going to try and make it work with Holl as long as they can leading up to the trade deadline rather than give up when there’s still time. But if things don’t turn around, I can’t see Holl staying much longer.

Also on defense, Lyubushkin has changed numbers from 26 to 46; the number he originally wore in Arizona. I don’t know why he changed to 26 in the first place, but after a shaky debut, it can’t hurt to change something and hope it makes a mental difference.

In net, Petr Mrázek was in the starter’s net. Neither he nor Jack Campbell have been great in recent weeks and the Leafs seem to be trying to rotate them until one gets hot and can go on a run. Not a bad strategy in my opinion.

Lastly in lineup news, the Leafs brought up Kyle Clifford from the Marlies to sit as their extra forward. With Jake Muzzin on LTIR, they can afford to do that now.

I’ve seen some questions about Nick Robertson or another player from the Marlies get the call-up, but the reality is Robertson has been injured all season and Kyle Dubas has said in a recent press conference they don’t want him jumping up and down between leagues anymore. Let him play on the Marlies until he “forces their hand,” which he hasn’t done yet.

As for Josh Ho-Sang, he only returned to the Marlies roster the other day and is going to be given time before getting back into the lineup (a week or two).