Toronto Maple Leafs @ Calgary Flames: Game #44
9:00 p.m. ET at Scotiabank Saddledome
TV/Streaming: TSN4
Opponent’s SB Nation Site: Matchsticks and Gasoline

After months of injuries, COVID protocols, and cap troubles, the Toronto Maple Leafs finally have settled on their ideal 21-man roster they were probably expecting to have this season — with the sole exception of Nick Ritchie and his unburied salary, which they probably didn’t expect would bite them in the behind.

The Leafs have a roster of 12 healthy forwards, seven healthy defensemen, and two healthy goalies all under the salary cap. No LTIR needed, no emergency exemptions, none of that. They’re officially banking cap space!

This news comes after Auston Matthews and Jake Muzzin were confirmed to be in the lineup tonight as the Leafs get set to play the Calgary Flames.

A 21-man roster indicates 20 active players in the lineup and one spare. At the moment, that spare is Travis Dermott, but he’ll be in the lineup tonight as Wayne Simmonds is back home with his wife and family, welcoming home their second child.

Without Wayne, the Leafs will run 11 forwards and seven defensemen, a configuration they have decided to keep over sending Timothy Liljegren to the minors or waiving Dermott and bringing in a 13th forward. The right decision, IMO.

As the Leafs head into the next month and a half before the trade deadline — the NBA’s deadline was today, by the way, and it was WILD — this is the roster Kyle Dubas is going to be weighing as he ponders deadline acquisitions. Is it time for an impact forward to upgrade the middle six? Or does Dubas finally believe he can find an upgrade on Justin Holl? All of that is going to start being answered in the near future.

Leafs Lineup

Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Alex Kerfoot - John Tavares - William Nylander
Ilya Mikheyev - David Kämpf - Ondřej Kaše
Pierre Engvall - Jason Spezza
OUT: Wayne Simmonds (daddy)

Morgan Rielly - TJ Brodie
Jake Muzzin - Justin Holl
Rasmus Sandin - Timothy Liljegren
Travis Dermott

Jack Campbell - projected starter
Petr Mrázek

Flames Lineup

Johnny Gaudreau - Elias Lindholm - Matthew Tkachuk
Andrew Mangiapane - Mikael Backlund - Blake Coleman
Dillon Dube - Sean Monahan - Brett Ritchie
Milan Lucic - Adam Ruzicka - Trevor Lewis
OUT: Tyler Pitlick (injured), Brad Richardson (scratched)

Noah Hanifin - Rasmus Andersson
Oliver Kylington - Christopher Tanev
Nikita Zadorov - Erik Gudbranson
OUT: Michael Stone (scratched)

Jacob Markstrom - projected starter
Dan Vladar