2017 Rookie Tournament: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Ottawa Senators

Photo: Christian Bonin / TSGphoto.com

Photo: Christian Bonin / TSGphoto.com
Photo: Christian Bonin / TSGphoto.com

Sheldon Keefe Post Game: Senators 4 vs. Leafs 3 (SO)

Keefe: We saw a lot more competitiveness, a lot more speed. Our gaps were a lot better. Our defencemen played with a lot more purpose. That really helped us. There was a little more skill in the lineup and we moved the puck a bit better. That earned us a lead. We played with some confidence. We weren’t able to sustain it, though. We talked about that part of it.

We weren’t able to sustain it, though. We didn’t like that part of it. We talked about it after the first because I thought the last few minutes of the first and again after the second because of our play in that period… I didn’t think we carried enough of the play. When you don’t carry the play, you’re kind of hanging on, and it’s just a matter of time before they come at you. We weren’t able to get the game back going the way we were in the first period. It cost us.

How did having Travis Dermott back change your gameplan? What did you like from him?

Keefe: I don’t know that it changed our plan much, but he’s a real good player. When he is in, with his abilities and his experience, he makes the whole group feel a little bit better, I think. He just eats a lot of minutes and makes people feel comfortable. I thought he did a lot of good things for us. He didn’t skate all weekend and then comes in and plays; it’s not an ideal circumstance by any means, and it was nice to have him today.

You coached him all year long last year. How have you seen Travis’ game evolve over the course of the last year?

Keefe: I think it’s come along. To say it’s evolved, certainly, is one thing. He was real good for us in November, I would say, and then he got a bad injury in November where we missed him for a period of time. I think he just really learned to use the skill sets that he has. He skates really well. He’s strong. Because of that, he is able to play really tight and not give much space for the other team to get going. He kills a lot of plays early, and then he’s evasive and he can make a play. I think, as he learned how to use his body and how to use the limited time and space you have at the pro level, he learned to make plays through that. He’s got a lot of really nice assets that really helped our team.

Was there any area of his game that you feel requires the most improvement to make that last jump to the NHL?

Keefe: Making the jump to the NHL is not my decision. That’s not my department, but like any young player, there are things to continue to work at — positioning, defending and those kinds of things when he hasn’t closed the space is one area. We’ve talked about that, but it doesn’t present itself too often because he closes the gap real quick. That’s a real positive for him. He’s going to have to carry that forward through Leafs camp and all of that. He’s got a bright future ahead. He’s going to continue to work and I know he’s excited to get going in camp.

Liljegren looked a lot more composed in this second game. What did you think of his game?

Keefe: I thought he was really good. I thought he was really good with the puck. He looked really confident. I thought he also defended really well today, too. It was a real nice game for him and he was excellent on the power play.

What did you think of Timashov and Moore getting back into the lineup? A little rust?

Keefe: I thought there was a little rust. Both of them at times tried to do a little too much with the puck, tried to make a little extra move. I think for offensive people like them, maybe they didn’t get as much opportunity to play offensive minutes as they would’ve liked last season. They would look at an opportunity like today as a chance to showcase themselves a bit. There’s a tendency to try to do a little bit too much. I also thought they worked and gave us a little bit of extra skill on each of those two lines. That helped their linemates in terms of how they moved the puck.

Adam Brooks didn’t get into any games this weekend, but he’s a kid who had a really nice final couple of years in junior. Are you excited to get to work him into your lineup this year?

Keefe: I am excited. It would’ve been nice to have him here. Circumstances being what they are, I think the organization made the right decision to give him the extra week of training to get back up and running after having mono and missing a big chunk of his training. He’s a real smart player. He does a lot of things really well. The numbers he was able to produce in junior bring a lot of attention to him offensively, but I think he’s a smart player who has a lot of other areas to the game he can contribute in. I’m excited to see how all of that fits in within our group. He’s a guy who fought an injury last year, too. It was an ankle injury he had in this tournament and all through Leafs camp and the Marlies training camp last year. I don’t think we ever have really seen the best Adam Brooks, but I’m excited for him to get through this period and get going.

Game in Six Highlights

2017 Toronto Maple Leafs Rookie Tournament Lines vs. Ottawa

Grundstrom – Marchment – Timashov
Moore – Dupuy – Bracco
Dzierkals – Bobylev – Piccinich
Pospisil – McGregor – Coskey

Dermott – Liljegren
Nielsen – Rasanen
Gordeev – Mattinen


Toronto Maple Leafs 2017 Rookie Tournament Schedule

Friday, September 87 p.m.Game 1Montreal 5 vs. Toronto 2
Saturday, September 97 p.m.Game 2Ottawa 8 vs. Montreal 2
Sunday, September 104 p.m.Game 3Ottawa 4 vs. Toronto 3 (SO)

Toronto Maple Leafs 2017 Rookie Tournament Roster

Bobylev, VladimirFMoscow (KHL) / Victoria (WHL)2016 Draft (122 nd  overall)
Bracco, JeremyFKitchener (OHL) / Windsor (OHL)2015 Draft (61 st  overall)
Brooks, AdamFRegina (WHL)2016 Draft (92 nd  overall)
Coskey, Cole FSaginaw (OHL)Free Agent Invite
Dermott, TravisDToronto (AHL)2015 Draft (34th overall)
Duquette, Marc-OlivierDDrummondville (QMJHL)Free Agent Invite
Dupuy, JeanFRochester (AHL)Signed to AHL Contract
Dzierkals, MartinsFRouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)2015 Draft (68 th  overall)
Gordeev, FedorDFlint (OHL) / Hamilton (OHL)2017 Draft (141st Overall)
Grundstrom, CarlFToronto (AHL) / Frolunda (SHL) 2016 Draft (57th Overall)
Kaskisuo, KasimirGToronto (AHL) / Orlando (ECHL) Signed to NHL Contract
Korostelev, NikitaFPeterborough (OHL) / Sarnia (OHL)2015 Draft (185th overall)
Liljegren, TimothyDRogel BK (SHL)2017 Draft (17th overall)
Lindberg, TobiasFToronto (AHL)Trade with OTT (2/9/16)
Marchment, Mason  FToronto (AHL) / Orlando (ECHL)Signed to AHL Contract
Mattinen, NicolasDLondon (OHL)2016 Draft (179th overall)
McGregor, RyanFSarnia (OHL) 2017 Draft (172nd overall)  
Middleton, KeatonDSaginaw (OHL)2016 Draft (101st overall)
Moore, TrevorFToronto (AHL)Signed to NHL contract
Nielsen, AndrewDToronto (AHL)2015 Draft (65th overall)
 Piccinich, J.J. FLondon (OHL)2014 Draft (103 rd  overall)
Pospisil, KristianFSioux City (USHL)Signed to AHL Contract
Rasanen, EemeliDKingston (OHL)2017 Draft (59 th  overall)
Scott, IanGPrince Albert (WHL)2017 Draft (110 th  overall)
Smart, JonathanDKelowna (WHL) / Regina (WHL)Free Agent Invite
Timashov, DmytroFToronto (AHL)2015 Draft (125th overall)