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Preview: Maple Leafs host the Red Wings in the penultimate preseason game

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It’s hard to find any uncertainty about the Leafs lineup. Are there any decisions left unmade?

Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Islanders Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Detroit Red Wings: Preseason game #7

When: 7:30 p.m.

Where: In the arena named after a bank, the pizza chain one is tomorrow

How: NHLN-US and TSN4

Who: The Red Wings site is Winging it in Mowtown

Why: I’m still not sure why we’re watching, yet here we are

Where is Connor Carrick? He’s been practising with the second group of players, most of whom haven’t played since the debacle vs Montréal, as the teams have been split into an NHL group and an AHL group. That leaves Carrick with the AHLers.

Is he going to get cut? Waived? Sent down?

Likely not. This might very well be a motivational tactic that has kept Justin Holl and Igor Ozhiganov on the NHL roster ahead of Carrick. But Mike Babcock has said one thing very explicitly: He’s going to run with eight defenders and 13 forwards until William Nylander signs. That means there are spaces for four full pairs without anyone being cut, and so far, Carrick isn’t one of them.

Babcock also said in a very curious interview scrum that Carrick needs to be solid defensively and to PK. Well. I mean. At some point, the coach kind of has to play him on the PK, so that was either disingenuous in the extreme or a not very subtle message that the guy just doesn’t fit on the roster.

Chances are Carrick will be one of the two in the press box, but let’s revisit this question tomorrow and see what the roster for the second Detroit game and — at last! — final preseason game looks like.

Leafs Lines

As you can see, Kasperi Kapanen is taking Zach Hyman’s spot while he rests his injured hip. Taking Kapanen’s spot on the fourth line is the last player remaining on the NHL roster who hasn’t played yet, Frederik Gauthier.

That “AHL” roster should not be confused with the players playing in Marlies uniforms right now. Those players are mostly future Growlers and a few additions like Andrew Nielsen and Rasmus Sandin. They lost their first preseason game last night, but they were playing something like a real AHL team, so not to worry. The Leafs look poised to make their cuts sometime after tomorrow’s game.

Red Wings Roster

This is all we know so far, from their official website:

The top four candidates on defense, Dennis Cholowski, Joe Hicketts, Libor Sulak and Filip Hronek, all played in Wednesday’s 3-2 overtime win in Boston and Blashill said all four will play Friday in Toronto.

Blashill said Friday night’s matchup against the Leafs will feature a more NHL-heavy lineup for both teams.

Cholowski, who scored a power-play goal against the Bruins, leads the group of young defensemen in points with four.


When we know more, we’ll tell you.

One more thing: Andersen is supposed to play the whole game with McElhinney getting the start tomorrow.