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Toronto Maple Leafs preview: tonight we see the real team (except Nylander)

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Mike Babcock has his ‘A team’ ready to play tonight at the Centre Bell.

Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images

Maple Leafs @ Canadiens: Pre-Season Game #6

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location: Ville de Vomit

Broadcast/Streaming: TSN4

Opponent SBNation Site: Eyes on the Prize

On Monday we saw a group of players that mostly will form the 2018-19 Toronto Marlies take a beating at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens.

Tonight we get to watch our own “A team;” the players that will mostly form this season’s Toronto Maple Leafs.

Based on that list, the one forward sitting is Gauthier. He was swapped in on the wing of John Tavares opposite Mitch Marner at some practices this week for the injured Zach Hyman; likely a temporary arrangement as now Trevor Moore is there. The Goat will sit tonight and it looks like he will not make the team this season with Par Lindholm having found favour with Babcock.

Some in the media, notably Kevin McGran, have floated a theory that the battle to be Frederik Andersen’s backup is and was only between Garret Sparks and Curtis McElhinney; Calvin Pickard was matched with Andersen because he is out and to be waived and or traded. This is supported by a Tweet last night noting Pickard likely will not play any further in the pre-season.

We ultimately don’t know what is happening with the goalies. Kyle Dubas and Mike Babcock are keeping those cards close to the chest. They are clearly going out of their way to make sure no one knows their thoughts in advance of the decision which they will soon be forced to make.

Either way, tonight for the first time we will see Tavares, Matthews and Marner all together on the ice in a game for the first time. However, we still won’t get to see William Nylander with them as his contract situation is still unsettled.

How much longer can this stalled contract situation go on? Well, the first regular season game is exactly one week from today. In theory it could go on past that point, but then things get really messy between the two parties. If Nylander signed today it’s totally still possible he could play in the pre-season as soon as Friday or Saturday. We will wait and see,

On the Habs side it sounds like we will see their “A Team” too. Except beyond Price in net and a handful of notable names like Jonathan Drouin, Karl Alzner, and Brendan Gallagher, along with their 2018 first round pick Jesperi Kotkaniemi at center. There’s not a lot of recognisable talent beyond that.

Max Domi will thankfully not be playing after Player Safety kicked him out for the pre-season because of his dumb hit on Aaron Ekblad’s face.

In the meantime, let’s hear it for our A Team!