Maple Leafs make change on defense, John-Michael Liles to play Thursday

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

The Toronto Maple Leafs have adjusted their defense corps, but still haven't recalled Jake Gardiner.

Only two days removed from a disappointing loss against the Winnipeg Jets, speculation was abound that the Toronto Maple Leafs were going to need to do something to shake up their defense corps.

With calls for Jake Gardiner coming in loud and clear, head coach Randy Carlyle decided to make a change.

However, it didn't involve Gardiner.

Following an optional skate on Thursday morning, Carlyle confirmed that defenseman John-Michael Liles was going to play against the Pittsburgh Penguins later that night. Liles had been a healthy scratch in 12 consecutive games. In 15 appearances this season, Liles has produced a goal and five assists for six points in 20:20 of average ice-time.

Given the optional nature of Thursday's practice, the team didn't run line rushes. However, Jonas Siegel of TSN believes that Liles will be paired on the second unit with Carl Gunnarsson.

It is believed that Mike Kostka will be scratched in favor of Liles.

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