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Preview: Kasimir Kaskisuo makes his NHL debut against Penguins

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Another year, another backup goalie.

October 5th, 2019: Kasimir Kaskisuo making a save on a Belleville Senators forward.
Credit: Christian Bonin - TSGPhoto.com

Toronto Maple Leafs at Pittsburgh Penguins: 7:00 pm

Broadcast/Streaming: CBC, SN360, SNO, SNW, SNP, NHLN, ATTSN-PT

Opponent SBNation Site: Pensburgh

What does it feel like to put all your hopes in a completely unknown commodity? Over the years, Leafs fans have had to do this when their completely unknown second, third, or fourth string goalie gets a start in the NHL. It worked out great for one James Reimer, less so for Jonas Gustavsson. At the start, Garret Sparks showed promise, but in front of a real team couldn’t handle the pressure. Antoine Bibeau got an NHL start last week in Colorado, after disappointing results in Toronto.

Now it’s time for Kasimir Kaskisuo. The undrafted free agent out of college, originally from Finland, has spent five seasons now in the Leafs organization, including one year where he was loaned to the Chicago Wolves. His regular season last year was not great, but he had a hot playoffs and has carried that play into this season with the Marlies. Can he carry it into the NHL? We’ll know tonight.

In front of him, the Leafs are in a bit of a trouble spot. Mitchell Marner, Alexander Kerfoot, and Trevor Moore are all injured and the third line is looking a lot more like a fourth line every game. At least the defense is fully intact?

The Leafs never called a spare up from the Toronto Marlies, despite both teams being in the city on Friday night, so the Leafs are in Pittsburgh with exactly 12 forwards, seven defensemen, and two goalies, despite upwards of $9 million in cap flexibility with Marner on LTIR.

It’s a risky move with not much reward. The Marlies have plenty of depth available to them at forward, and if someone happens to get injured in warmups, Martin Marincin is playing as the seventh defenseman or on the wing. I’d like to know the explanation behind that.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forward Lines

Andreas Johnsson - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Zach Hyman - John Tavares - Kasperi Kapanen
Ilya Mikheyev - Jason Spezza - Dmytro Timashov
Nic Petan - Nick Shore - Frederik Gauthier

Defence Pairings

Morgan Rielly - Cody Ceci
Jake Muzzin - Tyson Barrie
Travis Dermott - Justin Holl

Goaltenders

Kasimir Kaskisuo
Frederik Andersen

Pittsburgh Penguins

As you may have found out, the Penguins are without Sidney Crosby for six weeks. They also don’t have Patric Hornqvist, or Kris Letang. But they still have Brandon Tanev, Alex Galchenyuk, and Jack Johnson! Oh, and that Malkin guy.

The Penguins played last night to a 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils. Matt Murray was in net for that one, meaning Tristan Jarry (who was on waivers at an earlier point in the season) will get the start tonight against Toronto.

Forward Lines

Jake Guentzel - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust
Dominik Kahun - Jared McCann - Dominik Simon
Alex Galchenyuk - Nick Bjugstad - Sam Lafferty
Zach Aston-Reese - Teddy Blueger - Brandon Tanev

Defence Pairings

Brian Dumoulin - John Marino
Marcus Pettersson - Justin Schultz
Jack Johnson - Juuso Riikola!

Goaltenders

Tristan Jarry
Matt Murray


Please, Kaz, win this one and start a goaltending controversy in Toronto. It’s all I ever wanted.