Brooks Laich, Byron Froese and Colin Greening have been placed on waivers as of Noon Sunday as the Toronto Maple Leafs prepare to announce their final round of cuts on Monday.
The waiver news comes as good news for Peter Holland and Connor Brown — we won’t know for certain until the cuts are announced tomorrow, but it looks like they will comprise two-thirds of the Maple Leafs‘ fourth line on Wednesday night in Ottawa. Not among those waived are Josh Leivo and Frank Corrado, as it appears the Maple Leafs will carry 13 forwards and eight defencemen to start the season.
Toronto Maple Leafs Projected 23-Man Opening Night Roster
van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Mitch Marner
Milan Michalek – Nazem Kadri – Leo Komarov
Zach Hyman – Auston Matthews – William Nylander
Matt Martin – Peter Holland – Connor Brown
Extra: Josh Leivo
Martin Marincin – Morgan Rielly
Jake Gardiner – Connor Carrick
Matt Hunwick – Nikita Zaitsev
Extras: Roman Polak, Frank Corrado
Greening and Froese not making the team comes as little surprise — both finished last season in the NHL, but neither are far removed from the minors and the numbers game was too tight to accommodate them with the arrival of all the young talent now on the roster.
Many weren’t sure if the Maple Leafs would make this move with Laich on account of his respected NHL veteran status. It should be noted that the waivers news does not guarantee Laich is headed to the Marlies; Lou Lamoriello could be passing him through the waiver wire in the off- (nonexistent, given his contract) chance that there is interest from another NHL team. Odds are he’s destined for a mentoring role with the Marlies, though, in which case the Leafs will be able to bury $950,000 of his cap hit. The same goes for Colin Greening.
While they’re both good veterans and good people, Greening and Laich are only in Toronto as salary dumps in trades and they won’t be here past the end of the season. On top of that, neither had particularly good camps. Connor Brown has now mastered the AHL level and is ready for NHL duty; he makes the fourth line better and has the ability to move up the lineup as the season progresses. Josh Leivo was a point-per-game producer in the AHL last season and scored five goals in 12 NHL games; if he sticks around, he could help this team this season and be a part of its future going forward. While consistency has been an issue over his two and a half seasons in Toronto, Peter Holland is among the team’s twelve most talented forwards and he provides vital center depth heading into the new season.
We will wait to see what the final 23 is come Tuesday at 5 p.m, but this looks like the best 23 to start the season with. All offseason, Lamoriello, Mike Babcock and Brendan Shanahan were asked the question, “how many kids is too many?” The answer appears to be higher than seven. In addition to Connor Carrick, who has 53 games of NHL experience, the Maple Leafs are dressing six rookies in William Nylander, Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, Nikita Zaitsev, Connor Brown and Zach Hyman to start the season.
Barring any unforeseen trades/moves, Leafs will enter the season with 9 players on the roster with less than 70 NHL games played.
9 of 23.
— platinum seat ghosts (@3rdPeriodSuits) October 9, 2016