Detroit Red Wings @ Toronto Maple Leafs
07:00 PM at Scotiabank Arena
Watch on: TSN4
Opponent’s Site: Winging It In Motown
This is it, the end of the beginning. The Leafs will play their most meaningful preseason game tonight at home, and any decisions not already made by Kyle Dubas will be finalized. Cuts are the last act of the preseason drama, and the important ones come after this game is over.
Detroit put something very like their full NHL lineup out on Friday and, while they won the game, they struggled mightily to do it. That was the second preseason contest where 1C Pontus Holmberg has been all the other team can handle.
The expectation had been that a lot of the same Red Wings would make the trip and play the back-to-back. For some reason, the NHL schedule has given them three days off to start the season, and they don’t play again until Friday. However, they sent this group:
And no, I don’t know who those goalies are.
The Leafs have countered with a serious roster of all the players who might make the team*. You can essentially make the easy cut list as everyone not on here. We also have the debut of Jake Muzzin and Pierre Engvall in gameplay, and Nick Robertson and Filip Král are the only waivers exempt players on this list of 14 forwards, eight defenders and two goalies.
Note: If John Tavares is going on LTIR, only one of these 24 players has to be cut. If he’s not, it’s a much more complex picture.
*Justin Holl is on the team, just not playing tonight.
Justin Holl taking part in Leafs optional skate— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) October 8, 2022
D-man missed yesterday’s session with suspected food poisoning @TSN_Edge
We’ll have lines from warmups at game time.
With Detroit sending a lineup of random Swedes they found on the street, it’s going to be difficult to read a lot into this game. It’s also going to be difficult for the bulk of the Leafs, who are not on any bubble, to maintain their attention span for a full 60 minutes. Or maybe that’s me.
This is important for Robertson and Malgin, Král and Mete. Getting the nod to replace Justin Holl tonight is a sign that Filip Král is the next man up after Mete at the moment, something he might not even have believed possible before preseason. He’s been solid, unremarkably and quietly good.
Go Leafs Go! Get onto the real games.
Are the Leafs going to win this game?