Maple Leafs Get Big Boost For Blueline

The Toronto Maple Leafs' defense can certainly use all the good news it can get. Today, they learned that, after a 17-game absence, Timothy Liljegren will be returning to the lineup Saturday night. 

The right-shot D went down on November 2nd with a high-ankle sprain, and has been on LTIR. Although he shouldn't be looked at as a saviour for the Leafs' blueline, his presence and energy as a regular D-man should help boost the troops. 

Liljegren rocked a plus/minus of +39 over his first two full seasons with Toronto heading into this year. He played 10 games before the injury, and had one point. 

The 24-year-old was skating alongside Morgan Rielly on the top defense pairing at practice Saturday morning, as TJ Brodie was held out with the flu. 

Liljegren said it's been a slow grind since he was cut down on a trip from Boston Bruins' pest Brad Marchand. "It was kind of a slow injury to rehab," he said. "You walk around in a boot for some time and then slowly increase your workload. But it feels good now so I’m ready."

The Leafs surrendered six goals in their last outing, a wild 6-5 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night. 

Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports