Preseason is over. We made it!
T-minus four days until opening night (two days until October, Seldo) and the Toronto Maple Leafs roster is all but complete.
With David Clarkson, Nathan Horton, Zach Hyman, Travis Dermott, Garrett Wilson, and Mason Marchment on various forms of injured reserve, all but the 12 forward, sixth defenseman, and up to three potential spares remain up for grabs.
Oh, did you not know? Rasmus Sandin is all but a lock to make the Maple Leafs!
Mike Babcock on #leafs blue line decisions: "We've got four, then Sandin, and then we've got to figure out what we're going to do."— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 29, 2019
Boy, I did not see that coming a month ago. Perhaps Babcock is so desperate for a dynamic puck-moving defenseman on his third pair and doesn’t trust Justin Holl to do anything more than eat some popcorn. If that is the case, it really opens up the question, what happens when Travis Dermott gets back in early November?
So, assuming Sandin on the third pair and Jason Spezza/Frederik Gauthier confirmed on the fourth line, who are your picks for the 12th forward and sixth defenseman? My personal favourites at this point are Nic Petan and Martin Marincin but I could very easily see Egor Korshkov steal that spot on the fourth line to start.
With the Leafs deeper cap space at the start of the season and the fact that it’s easier to waive players on the first day of the season, it’s also more likely the Leafs go with an inexperienced group to start and make adjustments after that because the vets are by and large cheaper than the kids on ELCs.
Next question, what the hell are the Toronto Marlies going to look like? The definite answer to that should come on October 5th, the Marlies season opener at home against the Belleville Senators.
The Maple Leafs finished off their preseason by finishing off the Detroit Red Wings in hilarious fashion. 5-0 final with Auston Matthews, William Nylander, John Tavares, Andreas Johnsson, and Trevor Moore all scoring goals within the first two periods before the team cruised to a shutout victory for Frederik Andersen.
Since the regular season is about to start I’m going to put in a quick plug for #hockeyfightsdv and @MOTBLeafs. They’re both initiatives where you pledge money for whatever event you feel like (fifty cents for every Nylander goal, a dime for every day Ben Harpur stays out of the Leafs roster, whatever). #Hockeyfightsdv is designed to raise money for an organization of your choice that fights domestic violence.
Here is Babcock’s post-game:
The Game in Six:
The Leafs sent the Marlies back home, across Ford Athletic Centre (or whatever it’s called) to the Marlies rink. Four players were waived for the purpose of sending them to the AHL.
In NHL news, the Colorado Avalanche have signed Mikko Rantanen to a six-year contract worth $9.25 per season. As you can see, that is the same term as Marner but for much less money. No, I will never get over it.
Also, Kyle Connor signed with the WInnipeg Jets. Seven years, $7.14 million. Basically, he got the deal the Leafs gave Dion Phaneuf all those years ago. seven years, $50 million. I don’t know why I remember that. It’s probably why I write for a hockey blog.
So, what did Mitch Marner do to affect all the RFA negotiations? Largely nothing. Thanks, hockey media, you bunch of jerks. I’m mad at you too.
Wendel Clark got inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and he got to celebrate it with a few of his pals.
Which reminded a few people of this picture of Eddie Belfour in a leather jacket and jeans at his Fall of Fame ceremony. What a G.