Happy, holiday weekend to everyone in Canada. For those of you confused, this is our proper Thanksgiving weekend, and the holiday is on Monday, which is just how we do things. The NHL, of course, loves to give us something hockey related to do on our holidays, and this season is not the first time that the NHL season begins right after Thanksgiving.

This is what the Leafs are up to over the next few days:

  • The real team plays a game at home tonight (Saturday) vs Detroit, following on from last night’s festival of youth. Matt Murray should play the full game.
  • That marks the end of preseason games, but not quite the end of the fun.
  • The first official day of the regular season (ignore those games in Europe) is Tuesday, October 11. The Leafs play their first game on Wednesday in Montréal, so there will be la cérémonie, as opposed to the ceremony the Leafs will have for the home opener the next day.
  • That means that cap-compliant rosters are due on Monday, Thanksgiving Day at 5 pm.
  • Players can be waived as late as Monday because as soon as they are waived, they are — one way or another — off the roster. /

I always get this one confused because on trade deadline day, you can waive people that day. So... today is it, I guess.

  • Expect the big waiver days to be Saturday and Sunday, though./

What you need to know about waivers in preseason

Who will be on the roster? Who knows, but one person might not be:

Why Zach Aston-Reese Could Be Signed After the Season Starts

It’s possible the Leafs will use the PTO process with Aston-Reese to game the waiver system a little.

They have a surplus of forwards, and they may lose some on waivers. This is not a problem. They had a surplus of defenders, but injuries thinned the ranks. So if there is a defender they don’t want to lose and also don’t want to play in the NHL right now, Aston-Reese can make that work for them.

Assume that defender is Victor Mete whoever is still standing by Monday. The Leafs have six healthy defenders without him, but he’s the absolute next man up until Timothy Liljegren is healthy. The not-really-a-trick is to keep Guy and his $750,000 salary on the roster on Monday at 5 pm. Then on Tuesday or Wednesday, they put him on the waiver wire and sign Aston-Reese to a very similar deal, leaving the cap situation identical and swapping a defender for a needed forward.

The reason this is worth doing is that it’s much easier to get a valuable player — the rare “you want him, just not right now” player — through waivers after everyone has filled their roster and settled their cap.

The Leafs did this once before, in 2017, when Martin Marincin went on waivers the day after the Leafs home opener in early October. Complicating this is the delightful back-to-back with travel to start the season. A “we want to make your roster building hard” schedule if ever there was one.

While you’re waiting for roster news, try this recipe for Thanksgiving:

Peel carrots and parsnips and cut them to equal size spears - halved and quartered works well for large ones. Do about twice as many carrots at parsnips, and if you can find the tricolour carrots, get them. Toss in enough olive oil to coat them with salt, pepper and any herb you think might taste good, or none (or curry powder or just cumin) and roast on a sheet pan, turning if necessary until golden brown. You want a hot oven for this, about 400-425.

And I’ll hear none of this business that you don’t like parsnips. Roasting them makes them candy sweet, and if you’ve never experienced this, you need to.

If you accidentally buy parsley root, which looks almost exactly like parsnips, don’t worry, it works too, just tastes of parsley. This is also your opportunity to buy one of these:

You can peel and chop that up to roast too. If you accidentally get horseradish, boy will you be sorry.

Thanksgiving: not just for squash.

Happy waiver panic weekend, everyone!