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Kraken at Leafs Preview and Game Chat: Game Time Decisions

Ondřej Kaše close to returning

Toronto Maple Leafs v Seattle Kraken
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 14: Mark Giordano #5 of the Seattle Kraken waits for a face-off during the third period of a game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena on February 14, 2022 in Seattle, Washington.
Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images

Seattle Kraken @ Toronto Maple Leafs: Game #57

7:30 p.m. ET at Scotiabank Arena
TV/Streaming: TSN4
Opponent’s SB Nation Site: Davy Jones Locker Room

Tonight for me is going to be a nice fun excuse for some window shopping. There are a lot of players on the Seattle Kraken team that I have my eye on ahead of the trade deadline. Expiring contracts of impact players and potential long term options. It’s almost like Seattle got to take all the teams’ decent, but tradeable, assets and put them on one team.

Mark Giordano has been talked about a lot on this site, not just because of his long connection with TJ Brodie when they were both in Calgary. Even on the left side, Giordano would solidify the defense into a really solid group of four. I’m really excited to see how he looks tonight.

Giordano’s partner, Carson Soucy, is another player on many people’s radars. He’s not a legitimate top-half of the lineup defender, but he’s an obvious replacement over Justin Holl. Plus he’s right handed.

I really like Adam Larsson for many reasons, but I don’t think Seattle is ready to give up on him one year into his contract. Maybe another time.

At forward, Calle Järnkrok, Mason Appleton, Alex Wennberg, and Marcus Johansson all interest me. Järnkrok is probably the best fit at 2LW among the options, with the ability to play well down the lineup, while the rest are good middle six wingers to place around all the very good Leafs third line (+Engvall).

Speaking of the third line, forward Ondřej Kaše will be taking warmups tonight but is still listed as a gametime decision. Keefe said the lineup isn’t set at the moment as they’re waiting to see how some players are after their afternoon break ahead of gametime.

Rasmus Sandin skated hard in the morning skate and according to Sheldon Keefe, “isn’t 100% but is good enough to play,” but will remain out tonight. The Leafs will put him in the lineup if others can’t go, but ideally they’d like to keep him out for a little bit longer.

Mac Hollowell was sent back down before the 5pm deadline in order to make things a little easier in case Kaše needs to come off IR and a spot on the active roster is needed on the roster. Now, both Kaše and Sandin can play if they’re healthy to go.

For the lineup, I’m going to put Kaše on the third line, where he’d normally go when healthy, with Pierre Engvall likely coming out unless there is an absence somewhere else. If there’s an injury to the top six, expect Alex Kerfoot to go back up. While being on the fourth line, Kerfoot has played lots of minutes in the top six during defensive zone starts and late in games as Keefe has tried to protect Robertson a little bit.

On defense, Jake Muzzin has been skating regularly, but they’re staying cautious with his recovery after two concussions. They expect him back soon, but only once he says he’s good to go.

The prudent move for the Leafs would be to LTIR Muzzin for the rest of the season, but Kyle Dubas didn’t do that last year with Freddie Andersen, and he’s given no indication to want to do that this time as well.

In net, Jack Campbell gets the start in the second game of the back-to-back. Fingers crossed.

Leafs Lineup

Forwards

Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Nick Robertson - John Tavares - William Nylander
Ilya Mikheyev - David Kämpf - Pierre Engvall/Ondřej Kaše*
Alex Kerfoot - Jason Spezza - Wayne Simmonds
OUT: Kyle Clifford (scratched)

Defense

Morgan Rielly - Timothy Liljegren
TJ Brodie - Justin Holl
Travis Dermott - Ilya Lyubushkin
OUT: Jake Muzzin (concussion), Rasmus Sandin (illness), Mac Hollowell (scratched)

Goalies

Jack Campbell - confirmed starter
Petr Mrázek

Kraken Lineup

Forwards

Calle Järnkrok - Jared McCann - Jordan Eberle
Mason Appleton - Yanni Gourde - Colin Blackwell
Jaden Schwartz - Alex Wennberg - Marcus Johansson
Morgan Geekie - Riley Sheahan - Joonas Donskoi
OUT: Brandon Tanev (injured), Ryan Donato (scratched)

Defense

Mark Giordano - Carson Soucy
Jamie Oleksiak - Adam Larsson
Vince Dunn - Jeremy Lauzon
OUT: Haydn Fleury (scratched), Will Borgen (scratched)

Goalies

Philipp Grubauer - projected starter
Chris Driedger