Preview and GDT: Preseason Game #4 – Maple Leafs at Sabres (7 p.m., CBC)

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(Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

The first Hockey Night in Canada of the season. Feels good man.

Here’s the rundown of the storylines going into tonight’s matchup vs. the Sabres:

– Riding in on a hot streak of 2 goals and 4 points in his first two preseason appearances, Mason Raymond will play beside Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel. Even though it won’t stick past this game, Raymond and Kessel’s skating abilities sharing the ice together should be fun to watch. Doug McLean’s report of an all-but-signed $925,000 one-year contract are apparently less than accurate according to the more reliable insiders, but the two sides are said to be talking. Darren Dreger has suggested Raymond could command “well over a million,” but I’ve developed a Dreger rule for projected salary whereby I reduce his predicted amount by at least 25%. If true, though, Raymond would probably be signing with a different team. It would be a clever move by Raymond to sign this PTO if he can parlay it into a better deal than he was being offered in the off season, after tearing up the preseason as the most motivated proven NHLer on the ice.

– Big night for the bubble boys. David Broll will play alongside Trevor Smith and Nikolai Kulemin. The Leafs are evaluating some cheap depth options here with Broll (590k) Trevor Smith (550k), Troy Bodie (600k) all in the lineup. All are options available for filling out a 22-man roster. Bodie will play alongside Joe Colborne and Carter Ashton while Smith will play with Jamie Devane and McClement.

– Colborne has looked a bit quicker, which is promising, but needs to make more of an impact. I don’t think he showed much in his opportunity beside Clarkson and JvR to start last game. Due to his cheap contract (600K) and waiver eligibility, Colborne has some leash here that he needs to take advantage of.

– The Leafs defence has five of the 6 regulars expected to be on the blueline come opening night on October (depends if you’re considering Fraser a lock or not). Whether the 6th defenceman is Franson, Liles, Rielly, MacWilliam or tonight’s incumbent – Stuart Percy – remains to be seen. Even if the group seems light on proven top 4 D, this type of depth in options is a pretty nice thing to have and suggests there is potential for internal improvement on the backend this season. Expected top pairing Dion Phaneuf and Carl Gunnarsson will play together while Paul Ranger will be playing beside Jake Gardiner on the second tandem. Mark Fraser will line up beside Percy.

– Percy will have a tough time cracking the opening night roster due to waiver status and the numbers game, but he seems to have climbed the depth chart this training camp and could have himself in line for an NHL stint at some point this season should injuries arise. I’ve been pretty encouraged by what I’ve seen from game one of the rookie tournament onwards from Percy; he’ll have a long career in this league thanks to his ability to consistently make the right play. He’s not flashy, but his smarts and ability to limit mistakes should allow his simple-but-effective game to take him where he needs to go.

– James Reimer is expected to play the full 60 minutes tonight. James Mirtle said on TSN 1050 this afternoon that he expects Jonathan Bernier to start on opening night; if the inference from the media as to the strong likelihood of Bernier starting game #1 matches the organization’s opinion at this stage of the proceedings, it’s more than a little ridiculous. I would hope that the organization is waiting to evaluate full game performances from these goalies while playing behind something closer to the real lineup before making the decision.

– Joffrey Lupul practiced at full contact on a line with Nazem Kadri and David Clarkson yesterday, but will sit this one out. In terms of discovering their timing while avoiding injury risk, the right number of warmup games for established pros like Lupul is probably 2 or 3 games anyway. There’s a lot of sense in being extra careful.

Maple Leafs Pre-Season Lines

Maple Leafs Pre-Season Lines vs Buffalo Sabres
Forwards
RaymondBozakKessel
BrollSmithKulemin
AshtonColborneAbbott
LeivoMcClementDevane
Defense
PhaneufGunnarsson
RangerGardiner
FraserPercy
Goalies
Reimer
MacIntyre
  • Denied

    Looking forward to this game tonight, Reimer needs a strong performance to get himself back into the conversation for starting opening night and shutting these media folks up.

  • heatdreamer

    Would like to see the youngsters in the forward position really advance themselves

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    @K2L
    Fuck the cap!!  Sign Franson on a multiyear deal so he can get his ass to camp….then clear the decks to make room before we drop the puck in Montreal.

  • dlb eh

    good summary.  i lied last thread.  i wanted to see Brennan tonight.  other than that, everyone i hoped to judge tonight is in there.

  • Knights2Leafs

    I hope that Bozak and Kessel don’t slow Mason down tonight.
    Won’t matter cause Bozak can’t look left anyways.

  • dlb eh

    Gilbey93
    Percy – Rielly
    Gardiner – Franson
    Ranger – Phaneuf
    MacWilliam
    eh?  eh?

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Reimer getting the full 60 minutes will be interesting (as will Bernier tomorrow I expect).

  • dlb eh

    Knights2Leafs 
    he’s smarter than you then.  earned him 4.2

  • .JVR.

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
    Franson only wants a one-year deal.

  • dlb eh

    hard to believe someone was wondering aloud here te other day who could possibly be the whipping boy this year.  seems 4.2 is the guy, no matter what he does, he’s screwed.

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    .JVR. Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
    Franson would go multiyear if the Leafs offered it up at a reasonable price.

  • .JVR.

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan
    Reasonable to the Leafs or reasonable to him?

  • mORRganRielly

    Devane is definitely getting a long look from the coaching staff.  He must be closer than many of us thought.

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    .JVR. Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
    Both.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    mORRganRielly I think he’s just in because Orr and McLaren aren’t getting much if any preseason action and Carlyle wants a heavyweight for the preseason.

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    So….does anyone expect Kessel to be extended before we start the season??  And if not, does he remain true to his word about not negotiating during the season??

  • .JVR.

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan
    What Franson thinks is reasonable is different than what the Leafs think is reasonable.

  • .JVR.

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
    I expect him to be extended during the season.

  • mORRganRielly

    Alec Brownscombe mORRganRielly Well, he’s got faceoff skills, PK skills, decent puck skills, and he can fight.  He’s pretty much an upgrade, or close to it, at this point.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    .JVR. Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Franson wants a one year deal and if he wants it he’s going to have to take a pittance, relatively speaking. If he wants the arbitration rights next off season, he’ll have to take his medicine on a cheap one year contract that alleviates the Leafs’ cap woes in the interim, making it worth their while. This isn’t necessarily fair, and I think Franson is worth way more, but he’s got very little leverage here.
    The Leafs may end up spoiling a good asset if they’re not careful, but they would be silly not to bend Franson over the barrel a little bit here while they can. He didn’t file for arb. I feel bad because it is as Franson said – I think he was, perhaps naively, thinking the negotiation wouldn’t be difficult.  
    If Franson wants something north of $2.5 million, it’s going to be for 2 years. If he wants one season, it will likely be south of that mark.

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    .JVR. Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
    4 year deal starting around 2.80-ish…ending at 4.5-ish

  • Xxxxxnew

    Cap hit is still the average.

  • Nikhil Daljeet

    dlb eh Knights2Leafs 
    It had more to do with others’ lack of intelligence than Bozak’s own that got him that contract.

  • dlb eh

    just being willing to fight doesn’t make you a Carlyle player.  Orr and McLaren have a certain intimidation factor that Devane needs to show.
    coach also trusts Orr on the ice as much as he needs to.  doesn’t take bad penalties, doesn’t turn pucks over, forechecks hard.  McLaren has shown some range and ability to forecheck and finish checks as well.
    Devane’s always was said to have hands (good enough to not be a liability you could say) and has been used as a PK guy due to his length and skating ability for years now.
    if Devane can show he’s “safe”, shows an ability to be a good PK guy (say 2nd unit, or 5th in line) and can intimidate…then yeah, he’s an upgrade…because he kills penalties.

  • mORRganRielly

    dlb eh Orr and McLaren suck.  They don’t bring anything other than some form of intimidation and zero specialty skills.

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    .JVR. Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
    So you figure he’s bluffing about not wanting to negotiate during the season?

  • Xxxxxnew

    Doesn’t mean the leafs can’t approach his agent with a deal.

  • wiski

    Nikhil Daljeet dlb eh Knights2Leafs Off topic Nik, but do you get preseason on GC in the states?

  • dlb eh

    Nikhil Daljeet dlb eh Knights2Leafs 
    you’re a genious in the circle of those who think Bozak is a lousy hockey player.  but tisk tisk.

  • wiski

    https://twitter.com/adaterhttps://twitter.com/adater/status/381512036628168704
    Brian Burke wins judgment against online trolls http://t.co/stHruOsKuw

  • Alec Brownscombe

    dlb eh Nikhil Daljeet Knights2Leafs He didn’t call him lousy, he called his contract lousy

  • dlb eh

    mORRganRielly dlb eh 
    at the high level i’ve played, they have a place on my team.  in houseleague, you’re right.  in Sweden, where hockey is different, you’re right.  and that’s not to say they do it worng in Sweden.  and that’s not to pick on Sweden.
    but your comment sucks

  • Nikhil Daljeet

    wiski Nikhil Daljeet dlb eh Knights2Leafs 
    Hey wiski.  Absolutely nothing on GC at this point in time, although I heard they were supposed to be playing some of this weekend’s games (doesn’t look like it)

  • dlb eh

    Alec Brownscombe dlb eh Nikhil Daljeet Knights2Leafs 
    mmm, no.  he suggested Nonis is an idiot for giving him 4.2.

  • mORRganRielly

    dlb eh mORRganRielly That’s nice.  In the NHL, goals and defense matters.  Having an ability outside of fighting matters.  On a team in dire need of both faceoff skills and a player who can play a variety of roles, Orr and McLaren suck.  Period.  Fighting isn’t the be all / end all, and as shown in the playoffs, McLaren has no place on this team.

  • Jordan29

    mORRganRielly ya he had much better hands then I thought other then throwing bomb

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    wiski 
    Wow!!  This should be interesting to follow.  Can you imagine mowing your lawn and having a process server telling you you’ve been served by Burke??  Wonder what the monetary award will be.  I don’t recall anything like this being done before.  Could set precedent.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    dlb eh Alec Brownscombe Nikhil Daljeet Knights2Leafs That sounds like a criticism of the contract to me.

  • dlb eh

    mORRganRielly dlb eh 
    they do more than fight.  if all they could do is fight, i would agree.  i see two guys who spend more time putting the other team on their heels than otherwise.  we had our so called talented lines hemmed in our end far more often last year.  there is a place for tough guys who can break even in the scoring department.

  • wiski

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan wiski A few fire fighters were let go last week for a tweet, gotta watch what you say on the internet.

  • mORRganRielly

    dlb eh mORRganRielly Prove it.  Don’t just tell me what your eyes tell you, but prove it with statistics.  Show me that they have a positive influence on possession and keeping the puck out of their own end.  Show me that they are proficient at the penalty kill.  Show me that there’s a need for two enforcers.

  • dlb eh

    Alec Brownscombe dlb eh Nikhil Daljeet Knights2Leafs 
    i took “lack of intelligence” not quite so lightly as you.
    when i look around the league at players getting that same contract, i’m an idiot of Nonis proportion

  • wiski

    Nikhil Daljeet wiski dlb eh Knights2Leafs must be from Europe then, last leafs game stream I watched was on game center.

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    wiski Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
    I always viewed the internet as the wild west.  No real law enforcement generally speaking when it comes to what someone posts or says online.  Guess I was wrong.

  • dlb eh

    mORRganRielly dlb eh 
    lmao
    ok, Orr played, Mac sat.  Carlyle has more hockey knowledge in his right thumb than you do in your family tree.

  • peterbleafs

    dlb eh Bozak ought not be anyones whipping boy.  He has been steadily improving year over year since he got here.  People ought to open their eyes with this guy.  He is one of the best two way centers in the league.   He wins faceoffs and stays generally pretty healthy.

  • mORRganRielly

    dlb eh mORRganRielly … that doesn’t tell me anything.

  • Knights2Leafs

    wiski
    Aren’t most of them in a union? No matter what they said, I find it hard to believe that that’s termination worthy.

  • dlb eh

    mORRganRielly dlb eh 
    likewise

  • dlb eh

    mORRganRielly dlb eh 
    if the only proof you will accept is stats, don’t waste my time either