Sheldon Keefe has had enough as he demotes William Nylander again

Published May 10, 2022 at 2:37 PM

Following an embarrassing team effort in game four against the Lightning, Maple Leafs head coach surprisingly made only a few lineup adjustments. Despite pressure from the fans and the media, Sheldon Keefe has elected to leave the heavily-criticized Justin Holl in the lineup after a terrible performance which practically gifted the Lightning a 1-0 lead in the previous game.

With this in mind, it provides insight to Keefe's decision to demote Nylander down the defensive third line alongside David Kampf and Pierre Engvall. Although Nylander took heavy criticism for a lackluster effort in the early parts of the game, including an atrocious forecheck which has been circulating online, he didn't face as much criticism as Justin Holl. It speaks Keefe's internal opinion on Nylander's game that he's off the second line, which should be a much greater offensive threat.

Nylander finished the blowout game with two meaningless goals, perhaps frustrating Keefe by not bringing that performance earlier while the game was still within reach. Despite being one of the Leafs' best offensive players, Nylander will now have to make the best with what he's given on the shutdown third line.

Tonight's game five will be crucial for both teams in the series, but particularly Toronto. With five straight years of playoff failure, and facing a team who is 16-0 following playoff losses in the last two years, it's as close to a must-win as a non-elimination game can be.

In demoting Nylander, Keefe sends a message that what he deems to be insufficient efforts will not be acceptable. Nylander, who was bounced back from public criticism from his coach before, needs to step up his effort tonight to give the Leafs a chance to take a stranglehold on this series.
May 10   |   377 answers
Sheldon Keefe has had enough as he demotes William Nylander again

Will William Nylander be traded this summer?

Yes27773.5 %
No10026.5 %
Latest 10 stories