Today is the final game for the Toronto Maple Leafs prospects in Traverse City, MI, with an early start time of 11:00 a.m. ET. After that, the team will head home, with many prospects disbursed back to their junior and NCAA teams, while the rest will switch focus to beginning the NHL pre-season.

The word is that the official start of the Leafs training camp is Thursday, likely with a day of medical checkups and off-ice fitness testing first (I don’t actually get these press releases.) The giant 50-ish group of players that will be there will then have their first on-ice skate and practices together on Friday, after which the media should probably descend on the camp to ask the usual questions to get the usual answers. There will be many players “in the best shape of their life,” and they will tell us of the many lessons they learned last year.

Of course, one person we won’t hear from—as of the time of writing this—is defenceman Rasmus Sandin. We’re still waiting on him and the Leafs to work out a contract, and for the Leafs to figure out exactly how to get him on the roster given that it would put them over the salary cap, even at a low level.

For more on that story, the Leafs hole at left-wing, and more on the pre-season stories, you can listen to yesterday’s new episode of our Back to Excited Podcast here:

Back to Excited Episode 185: Leafs Preseason Storylines

After the Friday practice the group will get ready for the first pre-season games on Saturday—yes, there will be two that day—effectively a split-squad event, but the games will be played consecutively, not simultaneously, so you can watch both and start making wild off the cuff determinations on who should be cut from the camp! I look forward to that.

Other News

NHL approves agreement between San Jose Sharks, Evander Kane - Fear The Fin
All parties have finally agreed to a settlement to put this giant mess in the past. The only question is will Kane keep it in the past?

Fans push for Larry Kwong's induction to Hockey Hall of Fame, 75 years after he broke NHL's colour barrier - CBC News
Hockey fans are pushing to have Chinese-Canadian Larry Kwong, the first player of colour to skate in an NHL game, inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame for his contribution to breaking racial barriers in the sport. Kwong played one game for the New York Rangers in 1948. He passed away in 2018.

Rachel Roddy’s recipe for pork, lemon and fennel polpette, cooked two ways - The Guardian
Meatballs are an old favourite, and these pork-and-lemon numbers can be cooked in a frying pan or baked. [SPECIES: Highly-recommended by the tasters in the Species test kitchen.]

Here’s Leafs Assistant Coach Manny Malhotra, who is running the bench at the prospect tournament, on the play of the group so far, including some commentary on new draft pick Fraser Minten.

Getting to know Leafs top 2022 pick Fraser Minten