Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs
07:00 PM at Scotiabank Arena
Watch on: SN, NHLN
After William Nylander and his band of Marlies men played the first game on the road against the Ottawa Senators (a 3-2 loss), it's time for the rest of the team to play presumably everyone else on the Senators.
Cathy had the game "recap" to call out the risers, fallers, and generally unaffecting performances from the first preseason game.
The first game gave the Leafs a chance to assess their depth and see who's willing to work for a job as camp goes on. For this game, there a couple of serious looking NHL lines, and some hopeful AHLers as well. Missing is John Tavares, who did not play yesterday. It's not likely Tavares needs practice at playing hockey, but it does make you wonder if his ultimate line is actually the new Nylander line.
The Sens are playing newly acquired Vladimir Tarasenko for the first time. They are also featuring Mathieu Joseph, who they seem fairly desperate to trade to make cap space. The rest of their forward lineup is mostly AHLers.
Their defence features their real first pair and some others with some NHL experience, and we should expect to see Mads Sogaard in net for most, if not all, of the game, judging by DJ Smith's comments earlier this week.
The new Matthews line leads the team today, with a Kämpf line that looks like it could be the Leafs fourth line depending on the ultimate in-season arrangement of centres.
The third line looks like one of the Marlies top six lines, and should give Nick Robertson a chance to show if he is the best player on that line.
Easton Cowan has two wingers from the Marlies. Tverberg you should know as a Leafs prospect who showed some scoring touch at Traverse City. Blandisi is 29, has 101 NHL games to his name, and is entering his third year under contract to the Marlies.
The defence pairs are very interesting, led by what should become the Leafs second pair. We aren't the only ones who thought Kokkonen showed well in Traverse City, as he gets the second pair sweet spot with Gio.
Something is up with the depth defenders, though, as Brodie is not on the roster the Leafs released for this game, but Noah Chadwick is. The ultimate third pair might end up being that fourth pairing below. Both Rifai and Pietroniro are AHL/ECHL players.
Per Terry Koshan of the Sun, lines at morning skate:
Tyler Bertuzzi - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Noah Gregor - David Kämpf - Ryan Reaves
Nick Robertson - Pontus Holmberg - Nick Abruzzese
Joe Blandisi - Easton Cowan - Ryan Tverberg
Jake McCabe - John Klingberg
Mark Giordano - Mikko Kokkonen
TJ Brodie - Matteo Pietroniro
Marshall Rifai - Topi Niemelä
The Leafs will have a lot more NHL players than they did in the last game, and the Sens are bringing a mixed bag with their top six. Will it mean the Leafs will be better? It's their first preseason game and no one's going to want to get hurt. And let's be honest, how motivated will the NHLers be anyway?
I'm interested to see if any of the Marlies can work their way into real minutes. I'm curious what Cowan can show before he goes back for more development. Minten put a high bar for the junior prospects, Knies doesn't even look like a question mark. Kokkonen looked way too good for the lower competition of Dev Camp. I'm curious if he can keep it up against AHL+ players.
Also Noah Gregor, what does he bring?
Go Other Leafs Go!
Procedural Note: We will use this post as the GDT again today. If there are changes to the lineup at gametime, we'll post that here.