Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Liljegren, Semyonov, Amadio & Eichel Trade

In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs’ News & Rumors, I’ll share some roster moves the team has made before it plays the Vegas Golden Knights on home ice Tuesday. Curiously, those involve Timothy Liljegren, Joey Anderson, and Kirill Semyonov.

Related: Maple Leafs Must Find Timothy Liljegren More Playing Time

Second, I’ll take a look at one of those moves that might have an interesting link to one of the hottest NHL stories this season. That’s the potential trade of Jack Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres to – as rumors might have it – the Vegas Golden Knights.

Item One: Timothy Liljegren Moved Back to Toronto Marlies

Given what we saw in Saturday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings, it was a bit of a surprise that the Maple Leafs have sent defenseman Timothy Liljegren back to the Toronto Marlies of the AHL. I have to wonder if this is a salary-cap move or whether the team wants to re-insert Justin Holl back in the lineup for Tuesday night’s game. It’s a bit confusing to me why Liljegren was sent down. 

Timothy Liljegren Toronto Marlies
Timothy Liljegren, Toronto Marlies (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

Liljegren has played in three games for the Maple Leafs this season. During that time, he’s had a single assist. However, I’m not the only Maple Leafs’ watcher who believes Saturday’s Detroit Red Wings’ game was Liljegren’s best game in the NHL and might have been his coming-out party. 

Specifically, the third defensive pairing of Liljegren and Rasmus Sandin played really well together. In addition, Jake Muzzin had his best game of the season playing with partner T.J. Brodie. If Liljegren really is moving to the Marlies, what am I missing?

Related: Jacques Plante: The Man in the Fiberglass Mask

In a post yesterday in Maple Leafs Hot Stove, Ian Tulloch shared the numbers for Liljegren and Sandin’s game Saturday. The analytics show that Liljegren and Sandin were on the ice for 17 five-on-five scoring chances and only one scoring chance against. Tulloch noted that, if some Maple Leafs’ fans believed Liljegren was given a more “sheltered” role, it wasn’t the case. Tulloch believed, “No amount of sheltered usage on the planet could inflate your numbers to that degree.”

What happens with Liljegren will be interesting. With Liljegren on the ice, the Maple Leafs seemed like a much faster and more offensive team. It will be interesting to see who will be in Maple Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe’s lineup against the Golden Knights. 

Item Two: Michael Hutchinson Loaned to the Marlies

Michael Hutchinson has been sent back to the AHL’s Marlies with Petr Mrazek back in the nets. Hutchinson had been called up as an emergency when Mrazek suffered his groin injury. In two games with the Maple Leafs, he gave up six goals in 42 shots on the net. That wasn’t up to his standards from last season. 

Michael Hutchinson Toronto Maple Leafs
Michael Hutchinson, Toronto Maple Leafs (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Hutchinson’s record in the games this season is 0-1-0, with a goals-against-average of 4.57 and a save percentage of .857. Given that Mrazek is now healthy, unless there’s another injury situation the 31-year-old Hutchinson will stay in the minors until there’s a need for an injury replacement.

Related: AHL Central News: Wolves Stay Red Hot

Item Three: Kirill Semyonov Called Up to Maple Leafs

Yesterday CapFriendly reported that the Maple Leafs made a number of surprise (to me) roster moves. As noted earlier, Liljegren was moved down to the AHL while Joey Anderson and Kirill Semyonov have been called up to the Maple Leafs.

KHL Championship 2018-2019. Playoffs. Avangard (Omsk) - Ak Bars (Kazan)
KHL Championship 2018-2019. Playoffs. Avangard (Omsk) – Ak Bars (Kazan). Kirill Semyonov, Andrei Markov. 25.02.19. Чемпионат КХЛ сезона 2018/2019. Плей-офф. «Авангард» (Омск) – «Ак Барс» (Казань). Кирилл Семёнов, Андрей Марков. (Image courtesy

It seems that Semyonov has adjusted much more quickly than expected to the North American game. During his first seven AHL games, the 27-year-old Russian, who has played in the KHL since he was a teenager, has scored a goal and registered six assists. Semyonov might make his NHL debut soon.

Item Four: Is Michael Amadio Linked to Golden Knights Jack Eichel Trade?

Interestingly, the Maple Leafs lost Michael Amadio on waivers when they tried to send him down to the Marlies. Perhaps even more interestingly, the team that claimed him was the Golden Knights. Since they will be in town tomorrow night, it might be that Amadio could suit up against his old team. 

However, there’s a rumor that Vegas might have picked up Amadio in case they were involved in a trade that would send a number of current roster players to the Buffalo Sabres for Jack Eichel. If so, that’s a trade for the Golden Knight’s future because – given Eichel’s injury situation and his need for surgery – he wouldn’t be able to suit up for the Golden Knights for quite a while. 

Jack Eichel Buffalo Sabres
Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

In other words, something might be up with the Golden Knights and Amadio might be part of it.

What’s Next with the Maple Leafs?

As Pension Plan Puppets noted, the recent moves between the Maple Leafs and their AHL Marlies’ affiliate might be a simple as taking advantage of the Marlies’ schedule to get a look at both Anderson and Semyonov. The Marlies are on a road trip, but they remain close to Toronto in up-state New York.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Campbell, Nylander, Muzzin & Mrazek

Because the Marlies’ next two games won’t take place until Friday and Saturday, the Maple Leafs might just want to see Anderson and Semyonov practicing with the big team. If so, they could then head back to play with the Marlies for both weekend games.