MAPLE LEAFS NOTES: Some ahead spots to finalize, however Jarnkrok proving price on high line


Because the Maple Leafs await the return of Ryan O’Reilly, some parts of the ahead strains look like solidifying.

Calle Jarnkrok made it fairly clear on the Leafs’ latest journey that he must be the man on the highest line with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner because the common season winds down with 9 video games remaining earlier than the beginning of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

If, say, that coveted spot got here down to 3 gamers — Jarnkrok, Michael Bunting or Alex Kerfoot — it’s Jarnkrok who has been bringing one of the best mix of pace, tenacity and smarts to play with Matthews and Marner.

This isn’t to take something away from Bunting, who has a tremendous historical past on the Leafs’ high line. However he has not had the identical impression just lately, scoring two targets in his previous 15 video games.

Kerfoot, in the meantime, did a tremendous job with John Tavares and William Nylander within the win in Nashville on Sunday, and it’s encouraging that Kerfoot has scored two targets prior to now three video games after going 25 video games with out one.

Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe can depend on him defensively, calling Kerfoot a “stabilizer” following the 3-2 victory versus the Predators and is aware of he doesn’t have to fret about giving Kerfoot higher duties.

Nonetheless, Kerfoot is one in all 5 Leafs to have performed in all 73 video games and has scored simply 9 targets. That’s not top-six materials within the playoffs.

Keefe went with an intriguing look on his third line, utilizing Bunting alongside Noel Acciari and Sam Lafferty. It’s the sort of trio that may be an annoying handful for the opposition (and by that we imply the Tampa Bay Lightning within the first spherical), and one that may convey offence sometimes. We’ll see if Keefe stays with that threesome when the Leafs play host to the Florida Panthers on Wednesday.

In fact, the O’Reilly issue, and it’s a great one, will affect Keefe’s last ahead selections. As soon as O’Reilly returns from a damaged finger, and supplied there are not any additional accidents, Keefe can get to work on cementing his group. By no means thoughts the tinkering Keefe has been doing on the blue line, usually utilizing seven defencemen, there’s no query that the Leafs have the depth to make use of the normal set of 12 forwards as soon as the puck drops in Sport 1 versus Tampa.


Ahead Ty Voit has taken the sort of steps this season that the group needs to witness in a 19-year-old’s growth.

In 67 video games with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League, the ahead was second in league scoring with 105 factors (24 targets and 81 assists).

In 67 video games final season, Voit, a fifth-round decide by the Leafs in 2021, had 80 factors.

Sarnia would be the favorite towards the Guelph Storm within the first spherical of the OHL playoffs. In six playoff video games final spring, Voit had six factors.

In the meantime, we now have a firmer concept as to when ahead Matthew Knies will signal with the Leafs. It gained’t be till April 7 on the earliest, as Knies and the College of Minnesota will meet Boston College on April 6 in a Frozen 4 semifinal in Tampa.

If Minnesota loses, Knies’ school season will finish. If Minnesota wins, it should play within the Frozen 4 championship on April 8, which suggests Knies wouldn’t signal till April 9.

Both approach, we return to what basic supervisor Kyle Dubas mentioned on Feb. 9 throughout a media availability, relating to Knies: “It’s very uncommon {that a} school participant leaves and immediately jumps in and makes a big impact. I wish to mood (expectations) just a little bit.”

We are able to’t think about something has modified in that considering. The concept Knies joins the Leafs and is ready to be a major issue within the first spherical towards a workforce as skilled because the Lightning is a stretch.


The Leafs return to follow on Tuesday on the Ford Efficiency Centre following a time without work on Monday. Among the many anticipated standing updates: O’Reilly, who has been skating on his personal; goalie Ilya Samsonov, who returned to Toronto final Wednesday to be together with his spouse because the couple was getting ready to welcome their first youngster; and defenceman Erik Gustafsson, who returned to Washington a couple of days in the past to take care of a private matter … Joseph Woll on his 23-save win in Nashville: “It was superior. Each probability I get is a good expertise. I’m all the time grateful once I get to hop within the internet with the Leafs.” In eight NHL video games, Woll is 6-2-0 with a .922 save share and a 2.39 goals-against common … Kerfoot after the win towards the Predators: “Your linemates may be whoever they’re, however in the event you’re not taking part in properly, it actually doesn’t matter. Once you’re taking part in with (Tavares and Nylander), in the event you get them the puck in good spots, they’ll make performs.”

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