A few years back, when Lou’s Rules were in force, numbers got doled out at training camp in a way that could tell you things about a player. If a new player got to choose, he was a big shot, if he got handed a number, he wasn’t. I always liked that Calle Rosen just kept 48, it seemed a very hardheaded and stubborn thing to do. This season, only the Traverse City rookies, the juniors, and some of the new acquisitions got numbers doled out that meant nothing to them. Many others are wearing what they want to wear.

Kyle Dubas likes to give players the freedom to be themselves a little more. Lou’s Rules are all about team bonding, but Dubas seems to like to trust that he’s created a team his players want to be a part of.

Some numbers won’t change, but the lettering on the front might.

Okay, now get your flashcards ready, here’s what you need to learn:

  • William Nylander: 88
  • Alexander Kerfoot: 15
  • Tyson Barrie: 94
  • Cody Ceci: 83
  • Ilya Mikheyev: 65
  • Jason Spezza: 19
  • Nick Shore: 26
  • Nic Petan: 61
  • Kenny Agostino: 20
  • Ben Harpur: 22
  • Kalle Kossila: 48
  • Matt Read (PTO): 12
  • Pontus Aberg: 46
  • Kevin Gravel: 25
  • Michal Neuvirth (PTO): 35/

I’m exhausted. That’s too much, and that’s not even all the guys who might be playing significant, yet temporary roles in preseason. Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren are wearing 38 and 37 respectively, so they’ve been doled out a temp number before they go back to the Marlies. Jeremy Bracco is wearing 29 because his Marlies 27 is a retired number with the Leafs.

Ceci and Barrie added a number on the front of their former 3 and 4, since the first is taken and the second is retired. Ben Harpur taking Nikita Zaitsev’s old number is a bold choice.

I’m not sure if we should read too much into the two players on PTOs having regular looking numbers or not. And it’s still possible someone who actually makes the team may cash that camp number in for something better. Nic Petan just switched to 61, so someone else might do that as well.

Lots of Marlies are left on the roster wearing various numbers as they appear in preseason, so for our preseason game previews, we’ll try to include the numbers as much as possible.

The first game is Tuesday at 5:30 pm Eastern Time, so get studying.

How often will the TV guys get Alexander Kerfoot and Mitch Marner mixed up?

Don’t be silly, Kerfoot shoots left86
But they’re the same height19
And Kerfoot is twice as wide and a centre85
So, once a game then? 225