Maple Leafs demote captain John Tavares

Was this the right roster move from Sheldon Keefe?



The Toronto Maple Leafs are going to attempt to make it five straight victories this evening without the services of Morgan Rielly, who only has to sit one more game after his dirty cross-check to the face of Ottawa Senators forward Ridly Greig earlier this month. 

Tonight, they face the struggling Arizona Coyotes at the 4,800 seat Mullett Arena, looking to add to their misery of late. The game will also mark a homecoming for both Auston Matthews and Matthew Knies, both of whom hail from the Desert State.

But fans noticed one particular change in the Leafs lineup, as captain John Tavares has been demoted down to the third line, centering both Bobby McMann and Nick Robertson. Meanwhile, Max Domi has taken over Tavares' usual spot as the 2nd line center between William Nylander and Tyler Bertuzzi. 

Tonight's projected full lineup is as follows, according to David Alter: 

Matthew Knies-Auston Matthews-Mitch Marner
Tyler Bertuzzi-Max Domi-William Nylander
Bobby McMann-John Tavares-Nick Robertson
Pontus Holmberg-David Kampf-Noah Gregor
Ryan Reaves

T.J. Brodie-Timothy Liljegren
Simon Benoit-Jake McCabe
Marshall Rifai-Maxime Lajoie

Goaltender Ilya Samsonov is slated to get the start, as evidenced by the fact that he was first off the ice during Toronto's recent practice session. 

Tavares has scored just 15 goals with 25 assists this season, a pace of 61 points if he plays the full season.

The Leafs take on the Coyotes, who have ironically won four straight against them, at 10:00 PM EST from Mullett Arena. No doubt there will be plenty of friends and family from both Matthews and Knies in attendance! 

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Source: Twitter