Home 2013 Preseason Preview and GDT: Preseason Game #4 – Maple Leafs at Sabres (7...

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

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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
Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. Contact him at [email protected]
1126 comments
thelongroad
thelongroad

Move LIles and Guner and we have 9 mil in cap space. Replace them with Rielly and Percy and lock up Dion,Phil and Franson and still have cap to spare.

Cameron19
Cameron19

-Liles for Brodziak now, and Brodziak on waivers

-Gunnarsson for Stastny at the deadline.

-Excess Goalie + Bozak for Simmonds next summer:

-

J.V.R. - Stastny - Kessel

Lupul - Kadri - Clarkson

Kulemin - Bolland - Simmonds

Ashton - McClement - Orr

-

Rielly - Phaneuf

Gardiner - Franson

Percy - Ranger

(Fraser)

-

Goalie - UFA


CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

You can tell it is a good sign (and preseason) when Jake Gards is tied for your team in hits tonight  ... Carlyle has him taking the body.  I see him developing as a player in front of our eyes.. I think there is so much more from him.. he will be one amazing player and potential for being a top offensive D man in the league.. Picture him with Reilly, Franson, Ranger and Dion.. we will have a huge amount of offense coming from back end..

Dangle_My_Berries
Dangle_My_Berries

Ryan Hamilton, one of Eakins Marlies foot soldiers that followed him to Deadmonton  

Leafbites
Leafbites

Just got a glimpse of Lupes sitting ringside with a hottie at the UFC event. Sly Dog!

Wilbur
Wilbur

Good night all...Sabres again tomorrow night.

CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

Dion, Ranger, Percy, Gards.. Ice time tonight...  Percy was 2nd last game.. He is proving that he can handle the work load.. Would like to see him play in the 2nd last preseason game (against mostly NHL competition and their top lines and see how he handles it with that much ice time).. It would give us a good idea of just how ready/good he is.. 

I think he can handle it.

Optimustic
Optimustic

Brownie getting redemption for the hit on Hall.

theacs1966
theacs1966

Liveo still needs work, but he looked promising tonight.

Belfour20/JB-45
Belfour20/JB-45

I feel like Taylor Hall will always be hurt, just the way he plays.

Eye of the Tiger
Eye of the Tiger

Does anyone know what the record is for most shots in a shootout?

Optimustic
Optimustic

@Wilbur Have a good night.   I hope the Leafs have destroy them tomorrow.   

Gilbey93
Gilbey93

@CanuckUKinToronto Was always kinda against the Percy pick. He looks good though I must say. Not sure what his ceiling is but I think he'll make the NHL easy.

Gilbey93
Gilbey93

@Optimustic think the oilers will be good? seems like the defense is still brutal

Biltmore
Biltmore

@DeclanK 

Years ago my brother once scored a goal that way in an industrial league game. It was out of necessity, as he was using his left hand to hold off the defenseman, and used his right leg just like Ranger did in the clip. Awesome to see it in a shoot out. 

CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

@Knights2Leafs @CanuckUKinToronto  Well if Gards and Franson play the body more as Carlyle wants.. and Dion and Gunnar looked like they were into that as well... we have a good D core.  Reilly is a big strong boy for 19 as well.. He just needs the experience to play the body and positioning at the NHL size and speed.. He is a fast learner.. I like Percy too.. something has to give with this much D talent.. We do not yet have our D ranked in top 5 in the league but I would say we may be top 3 in the league for the number of players/prospects that can play top 6 D in the NHL. 

CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

@Gilbey93 @CanuckUKinToronto  I think he was a SAFE pick which almost guaranteed in their view that he makes the league.  I think Burke thought better to stock prospects that were assets that would make the league as 3-6 D men and 3rd line with 2nd line potential forwards in his picks to ensure he had assets opposed to his inherited empty bare cupboard... rather than swinging for the fences and maybe missing the home run picks

Gene
Gene

@Gilbey93 @CanuckUKinToronto  

 Mock drafts are run by fans who look for flash and dash from their forwards and either that or punishing hitting from their defensemen. Percy's game is understated. I bet he was higher on a number of pro scout's lists than he was in those mock drafts. 

Knights2Leafs
Knights2Leafs

@Bobsyouruncle

Now Bob, the Marlies aren't that strong down the middle. I don't think he has to go all the way to the E.

Gilbey93
Gilbey93

@Optimustic @Gilbey93 well I think he's a second liner but it's almost like the sens do you load up the top line with Ryan-Spezza-Mihalik or do you put Ryan with Turris. Same here do you load up with Lupul-Kadri-Kessel or split it up and put Bozak with clarkson and JVR. I think I like having two solid lines and if we run into scoring droughts put Kadri up with Kessel

Gilbey93
Gilbey93

@Optimustic @Gilbey93 As much as Horcoff sucks, I think they'll miss him in the faceoff department and PK. Much like if we lost Bozak  people would realize how valuable he is.