Update: Game one ended 4-1 for the Leafs (Holl, Malgin, Steeves and Steeves), and game two is a go for 7 pm. Scroll down and join the conversation if you’re watching game two.
Welcome to the first day of Leafs hockey in 2022-23. It feels really weird saying 2023, I’m still getting over 2021. But anyway, the Leafs are playing two games against the Senators on this Saturday, the first game at 1pm and the second at 7pm. Both games are happening at Scotiabank Arena, so if you’re in the area and want to check it out, you can get tickets in the $50 range. Toronto prices, amirite.
This is a split-squad day with Tavares, Marner, Nylander and co playing at 1pm, with Matthews, Rielly, and others at 7pm. Game 1 is on Sportsnet Ontario locally, Game 2 is on Sportsnet One nationally.
The Leafs have been skating with more-or-less the same groups this week to start preseason so I’ve pieced together what should be the lines for both games. Sens rosters are at the bottom where they belong. Thanks to David Alter for providing the complete lines that these were based off.
1pm Leafs Lines
Adam Gaudette - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Denis Malgin - Pontus Holmberg - William Nylander
Zach Aston-Reese - David Kämpf - Joey Anderson
Wayne Simmonds - Fraser Minten - Alex Steeves
Mark Giordano - Justin Holl
Carl Dahlström - Filip Král
Marshall Rifai - Mac Hollowell
7pm Leafs Lines
Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - Calle Järnkrok
Nick Robertson - Alex Kerfoot - Nicolas Aubé-Kubel
Bobby McMann - Semyon Der-Arguchintsev - Nick Abruzzese
Kyle Clifford - Max Ellis - Curtis Douglas
Morgan Rielly - TJ Brodie
Jordie Benn - Victor Mete
Mikko Kokkonen - William Villeneuve
In terms of the goalies, Källgren and Samsonov will each play 40 minutes, with Ferguson and Petruzzelli swapping for the third period.
Adam Gaudette immediately jumps out as a player to watch as he’s getting the first chance with Tavares and Marner to be in the top six. Denis Malgin is right there as well playing with Nylander. I also wonder how much they’re looking at Pontus Holmberg, who seems ready in every way but hasn’t been talked about for the promotion.
If you want to read more about the 2LW battle, Brigs has posted a nice pre-camp breakdown of each player. A lot of bets, not a lot of great bets, but by definition someone should come out of camp with the job.
Sheldon Keefe is also doing a systems check on Zach Aston-Reese and David Kämpf to see if a black hole will form around them. Joey Anderson will have to be the reaction limiter there. Fraser Minten will get his first NHL preseason game before heading back to the WHL, according to people in that sphere.
In the other lineup, Järnkrok is going to play with Matthews and Bunting in another audition for the top-six. I think this is mostly a chance to see if Järnkrok can pull off the rust from last season and go back to the level he had before playing in Seattle. We’ll see what Nick Robertson can do compared against Aubé-Kubel; Kerfoot is a nice foil to have for both of them.
Without Sandin, Muzzin, or Liljegren skating at training camp, there’s nothing to really think about on defense. Rielly, Brodie, Gio, and Holl are locks and there’s not much chance to fiddle with pairings. And in net, Matt Murray will get today off, but we’ll most likely see him Wednesday against Montreal.
I can’t figure out their lines so I’m not going to try.
Former Leafs Nikita Zaitsev and Kristians Rubins are playing in the 1pm game for Ottawa. Their notable players are Tim Stützle, Alex DeBrincat, Claude Giroux, and prospect Jake Sanderson. Josh Norris, Brady Tkachuk, Thomas Chabot, and probably the worst first round pick in recent memory Tyler Boucher are in the 7pm game.
Ahead of this afternoon’s pre-season opener @MapleLeafs, #Sens HC D.J. Smith has confirmed that Antoine Bibeau, Tomas Hamara and Philippe Daoust are the scratches from the Game 1 roster that was published Friday. https://t.co/q3UyppMhNC— Sens Communications (@Media_Sens) September 24, 2022
And for some extra light reading between periods:
Ottawa Senators season preview— dom (@domluszczyszyn) September 24, 2022
with @seangentille and @hayyyshayyy #HotDorionSummer has pushed Ottawa to the fringes of the playoff race, but unless a young star takes a massive step, the Sens remain on the outside.https://t.co/m0yzuKVQo7 pic.twitter.com/al6ndbvLIq