Based on the personnel on offer, preseason could become at least a little more interesting tonight.
Randy Carlyle will be icing a few line combinations of intrigue, including a potential “shut down line” combination of Dave Bolland, Mason Raymond and Nikolai Kulemin. How Raymond fares on that unit will be a worthwhile talking point; this seems to be, based on the projected opening night lineup, the spot he is vying for. The line looks good on paper, with a nice balance of two-way acumen, speed, and some grit between Kulemin and Bolland.
The other line of interest presents an opportunity for Joe Colborne to make an impression and prove he’s deserving of a lower roster spot to open the season. He will be playing between James van Riemsdyk and David Clarkson in what represents a potentially beastly cycle line. Playing alongside two other big bodies who are both effective down low, we’ll see if Colborne acquits himself well alongside two of the team’s top 6 forwards.
Nazem Kadri meanwhile will center Spencer Abbott and David Broll. Abbott must have done enough in camp and his firs preseason appearance for Leafs brass to reward him with another look, but it’s tough to foresee a spot he could even take. It’s likely the team is assessing a potential call-up option here. The undrafted Abbott, who was signed out of college, is a pretty skilled player so we’ll see if he can get anything done working alongside Kadri tonight. On the other flank is David Broll. With Frazer McLaren and his broken pinky cursing Carter Asthon from the press box, there is potentially a 4th line wing spot up for grabs come opening night. If he can prove he’s responsible out there and make smart decisions while bringing his physical edge, Broll has a shot. It doesn’t hurt his cause that his cap hit is below $600,000.
Rounding out the lines, Jay McClement will get his first taste of preseason action tonight playing in between Jamie Devane and Carter Ashton, who is looking to build on an impressive camp. As for Ashton’s prospects for making the team, whether or not Mason Raymond receives a contract beyond his PTO will impact his chances. If the Leafs end up giving Raymond a contract, Ashton would still have a shot at grabbing a 4th line wing spot (should McLaren be out) or the 13th forward slot; he’s in competition with Broll, but may be hindered by the million dollar hit he carries as a former 1st round draft pick on an entry level contract.
I’m, of course, assuming a cap crunch is imminent due to Franson re-signing sooner than later. That may be reaching at this stage.
Stuart Percy, arguably the team’s best defenceman in the rookie tournament, makes his preseason debut on the blueline, expected to play alongside the Captain. Can Percy put himself in the conversation alongside MacWilliam and Brennan for the 7th/8th spots in the depth chart?
Phaneuf and Gunnarsson will play their first competitive action of the season as well. As expected, Rielly will play his third consecutive preseason game as the brass thoroughly test the kid in the buildup to one of their most important preseason decisions: should he stay or should he go?
Between the pipes, Jonathan Bernier will reportedly play the first 40 minutes.
Maple Leafs Pre-Season LinesMaple Leafs Pre-Season Lines vs Ottawa Senators
Here’s what we know of Ottawa’s lineup:
Here’s the full lineup card for the Sens. Sounds like Craig Anderson will start. Overall, there are quite a few regulars featuring on both sides. Should be a good one.
$1,996 cap space 13F 7D now
-McClaren +Devane = $1,995 Cap Space
+Raymond @$925 - Smith = $1,620 Cap Space
- Fraser +MacWilliam = $1,808 Cap Space
-Holzer + Percy and +Brennan = $979 Cap Space to start Season
within 2 weeks later, trade Liles +Colborne and take back $775 of Liles Salary---for picks/prospect ticketed for Marlies---Cap Space then $979 +$3,100 +$600 = $4,675
+Franson 2yr at $2,900 per... hour before Liles /Colborne goes public...Cap Space $1,775
+Ashton $1,040 = $735 Cap Space remaining 13F-8D
in effect trick is to open season without Franson to entice other teams to deal instead of waiting for waivers to scoop up cheap---then nergotiate best trade idea for Liles few days after that
Very happy with the result this evening considering Ottawa had more starters playing in this game (complete 1st line, goaltender playing 2 periods) than we did. I liked Bernier's composure in net, I liked Kadri's play & edge and also the play of Mason Raymond....I think he would be great on our 3rd line. I personally feel Ashton Carter does not fit this team yet, his play has not warranted him a spot on this team. I forgot to mention the great play of Ranger, he does so many things right. Go Leafs Go!
Just re-watching the game and focusing on Percy. Man, he had a solid game. Looked like a vet even when playing the weak side.
Bubble players who helped their cause tonight;
Raymond(best Leafs forward tonight)
Meh (didn't hurt/stand out) are for Broll, Percy and Colborne...seemed out of sorts
So nice to hear Go Leaf Go in the capital and sneak a win
Kadri certainly had a burr in his saddle tonite. He had the 2 biggest hits in the game. He's a miserable llitte pr@ck to play against. Glad hes ours
Good nite folks
I was at the game thought ranger looked really solid as did Percy I think Reilly will be a super player great vision and instincts but not strong enough yet IMO
Maxi tyre was fantastic Dion looked average Raymond has to stay
Overall they started slow. It improved as the game went along.
Hopefully Naz just got a stinger in his hand but I didn't like the looks of how he barely stepped back on the ice before leaving again...hopefully just a preseason precaution...
Ranger looked really good tonight...I could see this guy leading our D in TOI.
Any word on Kadri's hand...that looked like it hurt.
Clarkson struggled quite a bit tonight, didn't look as strong as advertised on the cycle and somehow couldn't handle a pass on the tape right in the middle of the ice (3rd period I think?) but on the flip side at least he was getting involved and wasn't slacking, even stuck up for Kadri against Pageau even though I would have loved to have seen Naz just lay out that little fucking troll ..( btw do the Sens still have Stephanie Da Costa cuz he looked like a leprechaun, could easily form the ugliest line in hockey with Da Costa, Pageau and Jim O'Brien lol...it begs the question why are the Sens so ugly? must be something in the Ottawa water lol) but anyways Bernier was solid, Raymond is well on his way to getting a contract if he hasn't already secured one, and we STILL OWN THE SENS WOOOOO
@ionsys can see CGY doing a liles+colbourne type deal but idk if i would
@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan hed be a UFA wouldnt he?
@Wilbur Night Wilbur . I'm out as well . After midnight here
@Zep2 You are right Zep, he is a nasty little bastard to play against and what skill.
@MollySweats Xray negative ...just a bruise
@TheCanucksnaphook It can't be that serious if it happened at practice this morning and he payed through 20 minutes.
It's probably some training camp pull. They yank you pretty quick in these games even if its just a boo boo.
@Burtonboy Dammit...I wondered why he left after one period when he was scheduled to play 2...hopefully its nothing major and he's good to go for the start of the season...silver lining is that Macintyre looked really good
@Burtonboy Thank Christ we have another goaltender who isnt injury prone lol
@B_Leaf He should at the minimum ease the load on Dion
@B_Leaf I can see him pairing with Dion as our top 2...
@MollySweats Your right Pageboy looks like he hit every fucking branch falling out of the ugly tree.
@MollySweats Not many players could've handled that JVR pass.
@Burtonboy yes he did
That's what I saw too Cam...looked to be feeling the pressure/yips