Maple Leafs defense might require shakeup

Release the Gardiner - Claus Andersen

The Toronto Maple Leafs defense has struggled in their last few games. Are changes on the way?

Questions are starting to arise about the Toronto Maple Leafs defense corps and whether it's time to make a change to the unit.

Having allowed at least four goals in six of their last seven games, members of the team have stated that turnovers are starting to add up and have resulted in sustained attacks by the opposition. Head coach Randy Carlyle believes the group isn't engaging in the physical component of the game consistently enough.

With the team currently in the midst of a three-game winless streak (0-2-1), focus is narrowing in on potential changes. Carlyle stated after the team's loss against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night that he would be open to alterations in an attempt to improve the group.

With John-Michael Liles and Mike Komisarek acting as healthy scratches in the press box, the team has ways of shaking things up. In addition, Jake Gardiner has been discussed at great length over the last few weeks. Currently playing with the Toronto Marlies, Gardiner is a player many believe is ready to make an impact at the NHL level.

His agent, Ben Hakinson, certainly thinks so, as he tweeted out this request on Tuesday night:

The only issue with recalling Gardiner is that Korbinian Holzer is the only member of the defense who doesn't require waivers to be assigned to the American Hockey League. Holzer is currently averaging 18:37 of ice time per game and is averaging the second-highest penalty kill ice time minutes (2:37) behind only Dion Phaneuf.

However, if the unit continues to struggle, the organization could be convinced it is the right move.

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