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      Maple Leafs’ Joseph Woll preparing to make first start since Dec. 7 against Coyotes

      The Leafs will run with three goalies on their active roster with Woll back in the lineup.

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      Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe announced on Thursday that goaltender Joseph Woll is set to make his return to the lineup against the Arizona Coyotes.

       Woll, 25, has been out of the lineup since suffering a high-ankle sprain during December 7th’s 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. He’s missed 35 games since the injury, with the Leafs going 20-11-4 in his absence.

      Keefe also mentioned that the plan for the time being is to carry three goaltenders on the roster, as Woll will join the tandem of Ilya Samsonov and Martin Jones that the Leafs have, for the most part, run with since Woll’s injury.

      The Leafs have yet to make an announcement of a corresponding roster move to make room for Woll, but that will likely come at 2 p.m. EST when the waiver wire is announced. Only Nick Robertson, Matthew Knies and Pontus Holmberg have waiver exemption on the Leafs NHL roster, with Holmberg’s is set to end with his next game, as it will be the 70th of his career.

      Before his injury, Woll had begun to cement himself as the starting goaltender for the Leafs. In 15 games, he has an 8-5-1 record, a .916% save percentage and 8.83 goals saved above expected.

      Woll was a third-round pick of the Leafs in the 2016 NHL Draft, and after three seasons in college, he has spent the entirety of his five-season professional career in Toronto, making his NHL debut in the 2021-22 season before establishing himself as an everyday NHL netminder in the 2022-23 season.

      Woll is currently in the second year of a three-year contract with a $766,667 cap hit, one he signed as an extension partway through the 2021-22 season.

      Keefe also mentioned that defenseman Timothy Liljegren is still day-to-day and won’t play on Thursday. Liljegren has had a strong season when healthy, with 2 goals and 14 assists for 16 points in 40 games.

      The Leafs currently sit in third in the Atlantic Division with a 33-17-8 record. They will look to bounce back from  their 6-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights when they host the Coyotes on Thursday at 7 p.m. EST.

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