Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in the final game of the 2023 preseason.
On the standout performances in the game:
A lot of guys stood out. Our team was in the fight. At times, we were overwhelmed by a superior opponent, but at times, we also asserted ourselves. All the way through, guys did a good job.
At this stage in the game, I am not going to single anyone out. I think we have covered a lot of who have been a standout through camp. A lot of that continued. I don’t think anyone took a step back. That is really what you want to see. Guys stood their ground.
On the team staying competitive despite the mismatched lineups:
Generally speaking, it is NHL against AHL. There is a significant gap there, and yet hockey is hockey. You give yourself a fighting chance through competing, structure, and all of those kinds of things.
We were right there. Obviously, it got away from us late in the second period, but there were a lot of good things to be happy about tonight.
On Joseph Woll’s performance between the pipes:
He was really good. I don’t know if there was much he could do on any of the goals. Early in the game, they were coming in waves. He stood his ground for us. Again, through the third period, he stood his ground and gave us a chance to keep it interesting until the end.
On whether Fraser Minten has shown he belongs in the NHL
Our situation, as you know is complex. There is a lot that goes into it. If there are no roster limitations or salary cap, I think there is no question that he would remain here and we would give him an opportunity to get some regular-season time and grow through that.
But it is not that easy of a decision. It is complex. There is a lot at play — some I understand, and some that I don’t. Brad [Treliving], Brandon [Pridham], and the management team will sort through all of those things.
Fraser Minten, Easton Cowan — these guys should be really proud of the camp that they have had and how they have made us have these discussions right to the very end.
We are really excited about our young people. If the situation is different, it is a no-brainer. But it is complex. It is going to be worth a lot of tough decisions and a lot of discussion.
Toronto Maple Leafs Lineup
#89 Nick Robertson – #39 Fraser Minten – #19 Calle Jarnkrok
#18 Noah Gregor – #29 Pontus Holmberg – #28 Sam Lafferty
#26 Nick Abruzzese – #53 Easton Cowan – #33 Roni Hirvonen
#43 Kyle Clifford – #15 Logan Shaw – #90 Max Ellis
#2 Simon Benoit – #84 Mikko Kokkonen
#85 William Lagesson – #48 Maxime Lajoie
#83 Marshall Rifai – #73 Tommy Miller
#60 Joseph Woll
#41 Dennis Hildeby
Detroit Red Wings Lineup
Rasmussen – Larkin – DeBrincat
Raymond – Compher – Perron
Fabbri – Copp – Kostin
Sprong – Veleno – Fischer
Walman – Seider
Chiarot – Petry
Gostisbehere – Maatta