Maple Leafs place John Klingberg on longterm injured reserve

It’s not clear when or if Klingberg will play again this season

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John Klingberg’s tenure with the Maple Leafs hit a major bump on Thursday.

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The veteran defenceman, who signed a one-year, $4.15 million U.S. contract with Toronto during the off-season, was placed on longterm injured reserve as he deals with an undisclosed injury.

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The Leafs have not provided clarity on what has kept Klingberg out of the lineup for the past two games and three of the past four. There is belief that Klingberg, who had double hip surgery in 2014, has been hindered by a hip issue. It’s not clear when or if Klingberg will play again this season.

In 14 games with the Leafs, Klingberg has five assists and is minus-7. He hasn’t supplied the offensive punch the Leafs thought he would and has not been good defensively either.

The Klingberg move will allow the Leafs to activate defenceman Conor Timmins from LTIR and put him in the lineup in Chicago against the Blackhawks on Friday. Timmins has not played since he suffered a lower-body injury during the pre-season, but he is ready to return and has been practising this week on the third defence pair with William Lagesson.

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The Leafs also recalled forward Alex Steeves from the Toronto Marlies. Steeves leads the Marlies in scoring with 18 points in 12 games.

Leafs winger Calle Jarnkrok will be a game-time decision on Friday after he took an Auston Matthews shot off his left leg during practice on Wednesday. Jarnkrok did not participate in practice on Thursday.

“We didn’t love how it was looking and feeling, so we sent him for imaging, but the news has been positive here so far,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “He’ll come with us on the trip and be a game-time decision (on Friday).”

With Jarnkrok absent, Noah Gregor was moved up to the third line with Max Domi and Nick Robertson. Ryan Reaves, who has been a healthy scratch for the past three games, was on the fourth line with Bobby McMann and David Kampf.

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Ilya Samsonov will start in goal in Chicago. Joseph Woll will get the call on Saturday night in Pittsburgh against the Penguins as the Leafs’ quick two-game trip concludes.

The Leafs, who have won four in a row, are looking for their first five-game winning streak since Nov. 23-30, 2022.

And if William Nylander records one point on Friday, he will become the first active player to start a season with at least one point in 18 consecutive games. He would also tie Darryl Sittler and Ed Olzcyk for the second-longest point streak in franchise history. Mitch Marner holds the record with a 23-game point streak, accomplished last season.

Despite the highlights that Connor Bedard has been providing, the Blackhawks have lost five in a row and have won just five of their first 17 games. One of those victories came in a 4-1 win in Toronto against the Leafs on Oct. 16.

Bedard leads National Hockey League rookies in scoring with 16 points (10 goals and six assists) in 17 games.

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