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FTB: The Maple Leafs prospects get ready for Traverse City

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The traditional NHL prospects tournament is the final event of the off-season calendar, and a make or break event for some prospects.

NHL Prospects Tournament Day-2 Toronto vs Chicago

Fresh off the end of development camp, many Toronto Maple Leafs prospects are now getting ready to travel as a team to Michigan where they will participate in the annual Traverse City tournament.

You can see the Leafs roster, and the game schedule in the link below. The games are expected to be streamed for free, as they have been in the past.

With five teams worth of management and scouts in the stands watching these games, it is needless to say it is an important event for both younger prospects who want to show their progression to management; undrafted invitees who are looking at a final possible path to a pro-hockey career; and of most significance, the older prospects who are looking to jump from the AHL to the NHL, like Nick Robertson. For him, every chance to be under the lens of a Leafs management microscope is another opportunity to demonstrate that he should make the Leafs out of training camp and not be assigned to the Marlies to start this season.

The first game in Traverse City is tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. ET. Following this tournament, there’s have only a short break before the real Maple Leafs training camp starts, and the first pre-season is played. That’s scheduled against the Montreal Canadiens played here in Toronto on Saturday September 25th. There’s no word yet on tickets being available, though the Ontario government announced yesterday their new vaccine passport system will be in effect for September 22nd, and the Maple Leafs parent corporation has indicated they will opt in to that system.

Other News

A familiar voice is leaving the Maple Leafs scene. Andi Petrillo announced yesterday she will step down as host of the iconic TSN1050 radio show Leafs Lunch. In an interview with The Athletic, Andi said that she will continue her work with other broadcasters, like the CBC, but now in her 40’s, like many of us who are passing through the COVID-era, she has reevaluated the marginal benefits of her workload and decided the daily radio show was a lot of grinding work and stress that was not as rewarding as the other sports media jobs for which she has more of a passion to cover.

Leafs prospect Veeti Miettinen has already earned an award before even the start of the season!

Why exactly there is a “pre-season all-conference team” was a bit of a mystery to me, but I think it has to do with the forced churn of players in the NCAA—you can only play until you graduate, or turn pro because an NHL team drafted you, so this ranking is a guide to who is left after the seniors that graduated and NHL draft picks from last year have moved on, and they are recognizing Miettinen is one of the best of those staying in college for this new season.

Meanwhile, Auston Matthews expect to be ready for the first real game of the Leafs regular season after his wrist surgery, but it’s not guaranteed.