As the Toronto Maple Leafs await news on a possible suspension for Michael Bunting, they’re making adjustments to their lineup in anticipation of his absence. During practice, it appears that rookie Matthew Knies has been tapped to fill Bunting’s spot, at least temporarily. Bunting’s suspension concerns stem from an elbow to the head he delivered to Erik Cernak in Game 1 of their playoff series.
Head coach Sheldon Keefe addressed Bunting’s situation, saying, “He’s put himself into a bad spot here.” While the team is still waiting for the final word on Bunting’s suspension, NHL insider Chris Johnston tweeted, “Matthew Knies is in a regular sweater at #leafs practice — a pretty good sign he’ll draw into the Game 2 lineup with Michael Bunting likely to be suspended.”
Matthew Knies, a highly regarded prospect, has recently signed with the team after playing college hockey. Despite having only three NHL games under his belt, during which he recorded one assist, Knies has shown promise and the Leafs are confident in his abilities.
Toronto will be hoping that the addition of Knies to their lineup will help maintain their momentum in the playoffs, even without Bunting’s presence on the ice. Knies will have to quickly acclimate to the intensity of playoff hockey, but his performance in his brief NHL stint so far suggests that he may be up for the challenge.