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Sheldon Keefe Reveals Why He Demoted William Nylander

Published March 20, 2023 at 11:22 PM

Despite approaching career highs in goals and points, William Nylander finds himself demoted to the Toronto Maple Leafs' third line. His ice time has decreased over the last three games, and he has failed to score any points while taking only seven shots on goal.

Keefe Demotes Nylander to Encourage Consistency, Sends Message

Head coach Sheldon Keefe has voiced his dissatisfaction with Nylander's recent performance and seeks greater consistency from the 27-year-old forward.

"There's a lot more perimeter, a lot more getting rid of the puck. I want him to hang on to it. I want him to challenge. I want him to be on the attack. I want to see lots of pace. That's when he's at his best." - Keefe on Nylander's recent struggles

The revised line configurations see Nylander playing with Bobby McMann and Sam Lafferty on the third line, while Auston Matthews centers Alexander Kerfoot and Calle Jarnkrok. John Tavares is paired with Mitch Marner and Michael Bunting.

Keefe believes that teaming Nylander with Lafferty and McMann will push him to drive the line and exhibit more consistency. Nylander has previously expressed his desire for the coach to challenge him when his performance slips.

"Playing him more with guys who are going to skate and move their feet, that he can be the guy that really drives things. That's really the idea."

The Maple Leafs are currently fighting for second place in the Atlantic Division and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They maintain a three-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning and have two games in hand. The team's goal is to maximize their star-studded lineup, and if that means Nylander playing with Lafferty and McMann to recover his form, they are open to that change. Nylander remains on the top power play unit, providing ample opportunities to contribute offensively and potentially return to the top-6.

As reported by Hockey Patrol - Sheldon Keefe Explains Why He Demoted William Nylander
March 20   |   159 answers
Sheldon Keefe Reveals Why He Demoted William Nylander

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