In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs News & Rumors, I’ll look at news from the organization as the team prepares to play one of their top division rivals tonight, the Winnipeg Jets. The biggest question I’m seeking an answer to is the health of projected starting goalie Jack Campbell.
In the rest of the post, I’ll share roster moves the team has made preparing for the game and the road trip that ensues.
Item One: It Seems Concerns About Jack Campbell’s Injury Might Be Unfounded
In yesterday’s post, I wondered on paper whether Jack Campbell was injured. I had found it odd that – similar to Frederik Andersen – Campbell has just sort of disappeared. From what I’ve read, he’d missed practices.
However, everything points to the fact that perhaps it’s just as Maple Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe suggests – a workload management decision. From what I’ve read this morning, although Campbell is not yet confirmed to start, sites that announce what goalies will start have projected that Campbell will be in goal.
Specifically, Keefe cautioned that, because Campbell has recently come back from a lower-body injury, “We’ve got to really be smart with how we manage Jack’s workload here.”
Keefe added, “The reality is that he hasn’t been playing at 100 percent and the games take a toll on him. The combination of the fact that he’s not used to playing multiple games in a row and the fact that his body hasn’t quite cooperated with him the way he’d like it to through this season, we’ve got to be really smart.” (“Jets return home to take on Maple Leafs,” National Post, 30/03/21).
Related: History of the Houston Aeros
Let’s hope that’s the case. Campbell has been the goalie of record in all three wins in the Maple Leafs’ current four-game point streak and it seems he’s “probable” to see if he can push his perfect record on the season to 7-0-0 tonight. Although he’s played well against the Jets, he’s found it tough to beat them. He has a goals-against average of 2.01 and a save percentage of .942 against them in four starts over his NHL career, but he’s only logged a 1-2-1 record.
Item Two: Timothy Liljegren Will Travel with the Team on Their Roadtrip
Timothy Liljegren was moved to the active roster today and will stay with the Maple Leafs for the team’s four-game road trip. The 21-year-old Swedish defenseman hasn’t seen NHL ice time this season and might be around just for insurance. I know I’m anxious to see this year’s version of the young right-shot defenseman, but I also suppose I get it that the team is cautious with his progress. He clearly struggled last season in his NHL time on the ice.
Item Three: Martin Marincin Moves Back to the Team’s Taxi Squad
In the flip side of the Liljegren move to active roster, Martin Marincin was moved from the active roster back to the taxi squad yesterday. Marincin has been stationed on taxi squad for the majority of the season and hasn’t yet seen any NHL game action. He’s managed to play five games with the Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate the Toronto Marlies, and has scored an assist in AHL action.
Item Four: Adam Brooks Is Promoted to the Active Roster for Game in His Hometown
Adam Brooks is from Winnipeg and I’m wondering if coach Keefe might give him some ice time at home – just because. I have to think during a normal season, with fans in the stands, that would be something on Keefe’s radar; however, this is not a normal season.
That said, Brooks was promoted to the active roster on Tuesday. He’s had a decent season with the Marlies, scoring four goals and nine assists (for 13 points) in 17 AHL games. He isn’t likely to see a lot of NHL ice time this season; but, in the single game he played on Jan. 22 against the Oilers, he scored his first NHL goal.
Similar to Liljegren, Brooks will travel with the team as insurance and as a depth option on the Maple Leafs’ upcoming four-game road trip.
Item Five: Filip Kral Was Assigned to the AHL Marlies
According to a tweet by Joshua Kloke of The Athletic, Filip Kral was assigned to the Toronto Marlies on Tuesday.
Kral had been loaned to HC Prerov of the Czech Second National Hockey League and played a large role on the team’s defense. He ended his time in the Czech Republic with 21 points in 48 games. The fifth-round draft choice (149th overall) in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft fifth-round pick will likely also have a large role with the Marlies. The word is that, although the Maple Leafs’ organization has been happy with the progress Kral has made defensively, but they still see him as needing a few solid minor-league seasons before having a chance to jump to the Maple Leafs’ lineup.
This morning Marlies’ head coach Greg Moore spoke about Kral: “He thinks the game well. He definitely has a presence at the blue line…It’s one of those years where you’re going to have bodies coming in, and it will be challenging for ice time, and he will be one of those guys who should have an impact for us.”
What’s Next for the Maple Leafs?
If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll likely remember that have a special place for young Nick Robertson. I especially appreciate his drive and determination and I’m looking forward to seeing how this young player develops with the Maple Leafs.
Robertson’s had some tough luck this season. In his NHL regular-season debut on Jan. 16, he only was on the ice for just over two minutes before he injured his knee. On Tuesday, he was re-assigned to the Marlies and will stay there during the Maple Leafs’ four-game road trip. In AHL action this season, the 19-year-old has scored nine points in 10 AHL games. However, Robertson hasn’t played since March 3.
This morning, Marlies coach Moore said he’s expecting Nick Robertson to play “a lot of minutes” tonight against Stockton. I’m keeping my eyes on how he does. I expect him to come out flying.
The Old Prof (Jim Parsons, Sr.) taught for more than 40 years in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. He’s a Canadian boy, who has two degrees from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate from the University of Texas. He is now retired on Vancouver Island, where he lives with his family. His hobbies include playing with his hockey cards and simply being a sports fan – hockey, the Toronto Raptors, and CFL football (thinks Ricky Ray personifies how a professional athlete should act). He looks forward to sharing his insights about the Toronto Maple Leafs and about how sports engages life more fully. His Twitter address is https://twitter.com/TheOldProf