The post Maple Leafs Put O’Reilly on LTIR; Tavares Day-to-Day appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

The injury bug has hit the Toronto Maple Leafs in a big way. Marquee trade deadline acquisition Ryan O’Reilly suffered a broken finger on his left hand Saturday in Vancouver, leading the team to place the club’s newest pivot on long-term injured reserve on Monday. He is without a timeline at the moment, but with the regular season ending in roughly five weeks, it will be tight to get game action in prior to the playoffs. That said, TSN’s Mark Masters tweeted the club expects him back before the postseason.

Sheldon Keefe says Ryan O’Reilly has a broken finger and is going on LTIR

Leafs expect him back before the playoffs @TSN_Edge

— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) March 6, 2023

Unfortunately for the Leafs, O’Reilly wasn’t the only center injured Saturday. Captain John Tavares skated in a grey practice jersey on Monday, indicating he will be a scratch when the team takes on the Devils in New Jersey Tuesday. Head coach Sheldon Keefe confirmed after practice that Tavares indeed will not suit up Tuesday as he isn’t feeling himself after taking a big hit from Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers. Tavares finished Saturday’s game, scoring the team’s lone goal in a 4-1 loss.

Sheldon Keefe says John Tavares is not feeling himself. He’ll be out of the lineup tomorrow out of precaution. @BodogCA @RinkWideTOR

— David Alter (@dalter) March 6, 2023

While O’Reilly and Tavares began the former’s Maple Leafs tenure skating on the second line together, O’Reilly was moved down to the third line over the last couple of games. With both out of the lineup Tuesday, newcomer Sam Lafferty skated in between William Nylander and Calle Jarnkrok on the second line while Alex Kerfoot remained with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner on the top line where he played Saturday. Michael Bunting’s demotion seemingly continues as he practiced on the fourth line Monday.

Ryan O’Reilly Maple Leafs 1Still a Feeling Out Process

Maple Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas made a flurry of trade-deadline moves to bulk up for the postseason, and fortunately for the team, they have the next five weeks to find some chemistry before likely taking on the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round for the second time in as many years.

Not only is the forward group in the blender, but Dubas also added a trio of new defensemen in the form of Jake McCabe, Luke Schenn, and Erik Gustafsson. Rasmus Sandin was traded to the Washington Capitals while fellow young blueliner Timothy Liljegren has been held out of the lineup in each of the last two contests.

Clearly, the club needs to find its pairings in time for the postseason. Here’s how the Leafs practiced Monday with an emphasis on the blueline’s new pairs.

#Leafs forward lines at practice Mar. 6/23

Extra: Tavares
Absent: O’Reilly

Extra: Gustafsson-Timmins
Absent: Schenn@BodogCA

— David Alter (@dalter) March 6, 2023

In this scenario, McCabe and Brodie would handle the toughest minutes on the top pair as the defense-first tandem would be a tough pair to crack. Morgan Rielly moves down to the third pair for perhaps more sheltered defensive minutes away from the opposition’s best players. It’s been a trying season for the veteran who not only has just two goals in 48 games but is a minus-five on a Leafs’ team sporting a plus-44 goal differential on the season.

Sheldon Keefe and his staff have their work cut out for them. Dubas did his part, now it’s up to the players and coaches to find a way to gel with a monumental spring looming for this group.

Next: Three Takeaways From Maple Leafs 4-1 loss to the Canucks

The post Maple Leafs Put O’Reilly on LTIR; Tavares Day-to-Day appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

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