Toronto Maple Leafs vs Ottawa Senators
7 pm at Scotiabank Arena, SN1
Opponent Site: Silver Seven Sens
Ottawa has to be as sick of us as we are of them. The Leafs have beaten them in two games so far, allowing just one goal down, lost Colin White to a rare injury in a Leafs game, and play the Leafs twice for real in the first week of the season, the next Thursday and Saturday. For now, there is one more fake game to overcome before all the cuts to the list.
The senators took advantage of White’s injury in an opportunity to clear the salary cap by signing Tyler Ennis to a $ 900,000 contract. They may make some changes to their plethora of exempt players, but they can’t go down from 23 more white, not until they make a deal with Brady Tkachuk. He has shown no willingness to commit long-term to the team at the price set now, with a tight cap. Okay, adjusted for everyone else, not senators, but it’s hard to blame him for wanting a bridge that can make more money or a different team.
This prepares the Senators to play tonight with something like their regular season roster. The lines have yet to be announced.
The Leafs have a small handful of additional players still on the roster, each of whom can play at the NHL level without embarrassing anyone. The decisions they’re making have more to do with who to put on the fringes for now, with some opportunities for multiple different calls.
All of this is assuming, of course, that Auston Matthews will be healthy enough to play on opening night. He will not play this game tonight, but is expected to be ready by Wednesday.
Suppose someone, perhaps Brooks, is playing for Matthews:
The Leafs practiced with so many lane combinations in their retirement to Gravenhurst this week, the setups for tonight could be just about anything and could change in the game. The second-line spot on the left wing is the only significant spot on the open list, with a plethora of options for the last six, some bordering on absurd, such as Alexander Kerfoot as the 4C.
They also played with a third defensive pair of Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren, which raised a lot of hope and presumably made Travis Dermott very determined to be. on the games, don’t watch the games. It seems that the first squad we will see could have these seven defenders.
Will you be able to enter the list on the last day of preseason? Probably not. However, you may be able to play your way.
What is really at stake in this game is not much more than 13 minutes of ice time instead of 11 for a couple of players. It’s hard for me to believe that the 12 forwards that matter haven’t made up their minds yet. All of this going on for two more minutes seems a bit absurd, but the money and security that comes with those extra two minutes over the course of the next five years is significant. For some players here, they are competing for the coveted job of not playing at all. That lovely NHL feature where a press booth seat is better than AHL games. It also pays better for many players. But will it be Travis Dermott to begin with? It may well be.
For the last time where it doesn’t matter: Go Leafs Go!