The annual Rookie Tournament ended with a Maple Leafs shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators on Sunday evening.

There were no points on the line, but that didn’t stop a host of scouts and management from turning out to get impressions of the players that will be the future of the Leafs and the Marlies. The players left quite a lot for them to think about in advance of Maple Leafs training camp, which begins at the end of this week.

After an 8-2 thrashing of the Canadiens on Saturday, the Senators sat two of their best prospects for this game; Thomas Chabot, and Colin White.

As with the first game, there was a pre-planned swap of goalies at the half way mark. Ian Scott started in net, and Kasimir “Cashmere” Kaskisuo finished the game, and took the shootout. Kaskisuo stopped all shots in the first round, and then through several rounds of sudden death before a slippery Senator sneaked one past him.

This short tournament and the planned substitutions make it difficult to come to a proper conclusion on the two goaltenders. I also wasn’t really watching them too much and instead focused on other players responses on the ice, so I withhold judgement entirely. If you have thoughts, feel free to share in the comments.

You can watch the full game in six below.

While the game had an unfortunate outcome with the Leafs leading 3-0, and losing 4-3, this was ultimately a showcase of future talent for the Leafs and Marlies. Here are my thoughts from Sunday’s game. You can find my thoughts from Friday’s game here.

Timothy Liljegren

After Friday’s rough game you can bet a lot of eyes were on the Leafs’ brand new defenceman. Liljegren was calmer and more focused on Sunday than Friday. As I wrote previously, I don’t think he was fully responsible for his poor stat-sheet performance on Friday, though there were no moments that screamed “that’s why he’s a first-round draft pick” at you. On Sunday, he came much closer to demonstrating that level of talent.

The patience he demonstrates on holding that shot to the net until Mason Marchment is in the perfect position is first-round material. Credit also goes to Marchment and Moore for completing the goal. I love the water-bottle popping from Moore’s shot.

In the third period he had a nice setup from Kristian Pospisil for a great scoring chance, but this one didn’t go in. Still, a great attempt and I can’t wait to see his first goal.

Liljegren will be under a huge microscope over the next few weeks at the Maple Leafs training camp. He may or may not make the big club this time around, but I suspect he will wow us wherever he starts the season. I was rooting for him to get the shootout winner, but, alas, it was not meant to be.

Travis Dermott

2017 Top 25 Under 25: What could push #10, Travis Dermott, into the NHL lineup?

Everyone is talking about Dermott and his future in the organization. Does he climb the ladder of the depth chart up to the Maple Leafs this season, or will he stay with the Marlies? He shrugs off questions about that, knowing that while it’s up to him to play his best, it’s for others to make the decision. The questions are repeatedly asked anyway of him, his teammates, and Sheldon Keefe.

Keefe explains that he sees real talent when Dermott is on the ice. “When he’s in, I think with his abilities and his experience he makes the whole group feel a bit better. He eats a lot of minutes and makes people feel comfortable,” he said of his Sunday performance.

An exception would be the Senators Gabriel Gagne whom Dermott definitely made uncomfortable by delivering a classic hip-check in open ice that sent him flying up in the air.

Dermott’s game did look slightly off his best, but I attribute that to his recent time off from an illness. He still had four shots on goal, two each in the first two periods. There was a definite scoring chance in the third period, though it didn’t count as a SOG.

Sheldon Keefe indicated he hadn’t skated at all for several days prior to Sunday. For being thrown into a game like that with little advance practice and new linemates, it shows he ultimately is at or better than where he was at the end of the last Marlies season.

Clearly, Dermott has the strength and skill to contend for a place on an NHL roster. Various circumstances will make it difficult. The Maple Leafs training camp will have some high drama.

Fedor Gordeev

At 141st overall, the Leafs select Fedor Gordeev

Gordeev quietly had two good games in the tournament. He probably won’t show up on the highlight reels, but that’s because he kept his game simple and did his job responsibly. I saw him handily strip the puck from the Senators attackers and clear it out several times when the Leafs were in the weeds in their own zone, giving them some breathing room for a line change. He was a better skater than I anticipated too. When I hear of an 18 year-old 6’6” defenceman I don’t generally think of speed, but he did not look slow in the games, and had some decent manoeuvrability. This fifth round pick could be a sleeper to keep an eye on this season.

Other Player Notes

  • Dmytro Timashov still has that nice speed, but was pushed around a lot. He didn’t get a shot on goal until the third period. He still has some work to do, but has time on his side.
  • Jeremy Bracco had a less flashy game, and was pushed around more by the Senators than the Canadiens, but was ultimately still fine. Keefe complained of “sloppiness” and a “lack of structure” after Friday’s game and perhaps Bracco deliberately tried to play a more conservative style Sunday to which he isn’t accustomed after his last year in junior. Let’s give him time to adjust to pro-hockey and see what happens.
  • I didn’t notice much worth talking about by Eemeli Rasanen, and even less from Nicolas Mattinen./

What’s Next?

The Maple Leafs training camp will start later this week as they head to Niagara Falls for some scrimmages and workshops. The first pre-season game is in one week, on Monday September 18 vs. the Senators.

Who impressed you the most relative to your expectations during this tournament

Carl Grundstrom130
Jeremy Bracco33
Timothy Liljegren26
Travis Dermott96
Trevor Moore20
Someone else82