Timothy Liljegren victim of Sheldon Keefe's double standards

Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe has left Timothy Liljegren out of the lineup since Kyle Dubas added three new defencemen at the NHL trade deadline. Keefe says the increased blue-line depth means increased standards but it seems those standards are not being applied equally across Toronto's defensive lines.

Video Transcript

- If you're a Leaf fan like me, you pay attention to quotes, especially quotes from the coach. And Sheldon Keefe has had some interesting quotes when it comes to the usage of the team's defense.

You know, Kyle Dubas added a lot of defensemen at this deadline. We added Jake McCabe. We added Eric Gustafsson. We added Luke Schenn. And because of that, there have been some players who have had to sit out, Timothy Liljegren being one of them.

And I don't agree with it. I don't. I get it. He's younger. And when it comes to modern decisions, the tie goes to the veteran. I get it.

I just don't agree with it at all. And especially when you consider what Keefe has said about this, saying that because the team's defense is so deep now that the standard has to be raised. Which I agree. I agree 100% that right, we're at this point now with so many players that can go in and play in the lineup that the standards should be raised. But if we're going to do that, let's be a little consistent here, right?

I know he's been the focus all season long. But I don't know-- like watching Timothy Liljegren's development this season to a legitimate top four option, where he literally-- he's like breaking plays up one on one. He's transitioning well between offense and defense. He has great synergy amongst players on the ice.

And then when you watch games, and see-- watch Justin Holl, for example, on the ice for every goal against, I'm not saying that every single goal is his fault. But a lot of it just comes down to his decision making, and his poor play, or just like missed assignments in front of the net.

I don't know. If you're going to raise the standard for everyone, then let's raise the standard for everyone, everyone included. Morgan Rielly's had some miss-ups here and there, right? Like there have been so many defensemen that have had issues. And I don't think Liljegren should be the one to sit. I really don't.

The Leafs did that last year. Last year [INAUDIBLE], Sandin, and Liljegren didn't play in the playoffs. And I don't think that should be the thing. I don't think that should be the move. I think Liljegren has done a lot this season to prove that he is in your top six, that he's one of the top six best defenseman on the team.

So I don't know. I don't know. Maybe it's just a lip service thing, and they're just trying to drive Liljegren up a little bit, try to get him to like outplay what he's already outplayed. But I don't know, right now I don't see how you start game one of the playoffs, and Liljegren's not in the lineup, regardless of his age.