Sheldon Keefe makes a disappointing lineup change.
John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports  

Sheldon Keefe makes a disappointing lineup change.

The Toronto Maple Leafs head coach has made a tough decision regarding his starting lineup on Saturday.

Jonathan Larivee

It would appear as though the Fraser Minten experiment may be over for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

On Friday, we got our first hint that Minten's time in the starting lineup was coming to a close when the Leafs showcased a new look during their morning skate. That new look featured the recently called up Pontus Holmberg anchoring the fourth line as its center and now it would appear that we can expect that same look tonight when the Maple Leafs take on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

TSN's Mark Masters is now reporting that Pontus Holmberg is expected to make his season debut this evening when the Maple Leafs take on the Lightning, and furthermore Masters is reporting that Minten stayed out late following the team's morning skate. This is usually an indication that a player will be made a healthy scratch, and many believe that Minten will likely be sent back down in short order.

Sheldon Keefe has commented on the situation and it sounded very much like Minten would not be playing this evening.

"Stay positive. Have fun," said Keefe of Minten. "Enjoy it all ... Everything for him is gravy. He is here learning and taking it all in"

Sending Minten back down to junior and the Western Hockey League would make a great deal of sense for his development and despite his success in training camp and the preseason that may be the path the Leafs will choose to go down. Through 4 games this season Minten has been sound defensively but has not yet produced on the scoreboard, and the Leafs may wish to see him get more ice time in junior than he would otherwise receive on the Maple Leafs fourth line.

Stay tuned for more on this developing story.