Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe has big plans this season for star forward Auston Matthews, who he plans to use on a penalty kill.
“I don’t expect that to be his role or full-time responsibility, but rather occasionally, when it becomes necessary,” Keefe said on video conference Thursday.
“We want him to start feeling comfortable in those types of situations, especially face-offs. He can give us a lot on the left side. ”
Last season, Matthews was used for a total of 2:59 on the penalty kill. In his four seasons in the NHL, he only played 07:34 as the Leafs were short of a man.
“He’s developed his defensive side a lot and we believe he can give us a lot on the shorthand,” Keefe continued. And obviously, the offensive threat it represents will also bring a lot. “
Keefe also plans to use forwards Mitch Marner, Zach Hyman, Alex Kerfoot, Ilya Mikheyev and Jason Spezza in such circumstances this season.