Mike Babcock addressed the media after practice on Monday, touching on the decision to waive Jhonas Enroth, the status of Peter Holland, and the William Nylander and JVR trade speculation.
Any update on Matt Martin and Matt Hunwick?
Mike Babcock: Hunwick is just some maintenance. [Matt Martin] is sick.
Is it just a matter of [Jhonas Enroth] not getting the results? How did he take the news?
Babcock: Lou met with him today. Obviously, it wasn’t going good enough. We’re just in a situation where we’re making a change.
22:04 of ice time is a career high in his first season for Mitch Marner. What did you like about his game on Saturday that made him so effective?
Babcock: I thought Bozak was really good. [Marner] and [van Riemsdyk] and Bozak were our best line. When you play that good, you end up getting out there more. They dominated the faceoff circle. They were our best line by far. It was good for us because we like to match [Nazem Kadri] against the Sedins. The coach wasn’t letting that happen as much as we’d like. Bozak did a real nice job, and played well.
How do you see JVR’s development this season? Obviously, the goals are coming here, but as he tries to become that well-rounded player…
Babcock: He’s becoming a better player, obviously. We met today and went through all the positives of his last little while. When you get it going, you want to keep it going. You want to work harder every day. I think he’s done a good job. He’s got some things that we’ve specifically asked him to work on, and he’s working on them on a daily basis and improving his game.
Zach Hyman — the ability to muck the way he did, and the play to set up Auston. He put it into an open area of the ice; it wasn’t tape to tape, but it was like hitting a receiver in stride. Impressive.
Babcock: I think Hyman’s an impressive player. He works every single day. I’ve been saying that all along. I think he’s good. I think if [Connor Brown] and him played on the powerplay they would have a lot more points, but we use them on the penalty kill. We think that’s important. They’re dominant penalty killers. They work hard every day. They’re part of the drive train of your team and will be for a long time.
Peter Holland also wasn’t out there.
Babcock: I don’t know the total answer to that. Lou met with him and his agent, over the phone and in person. Since that time, he hasn’t been with us.
With Jhonas Enroth out of the picture, do you know who backs up on Wednesday?
Babcock: That’s why I answered the question the way I did. [Andersen] is starting on Wednesday.
What did you like about Marincin’s game on Saturday?
Babcock: He was big, and he moved the puck, and he was involved at the offensive blue line, and he didn’t make a lot of mistakes. Marty has lots of talent. Confidence is the biggest issue with him. He’s got to earn the right to be in every day. He played real good for us down the stretch for us last year. He’s got to find that game on a consistent basis. He’s an elite penalty killer, and he’s a big body with a long reach.
Given JVR’s production at his age, his contract status… he’s aware of it that there’s going to be talk leading up to the trade deadline.
Babcock: I think there’s been a bunch of talk. There was a bunch of talk about him and [William Nylander] when we were in Calgary, somebody told me about. I just told them to play hard and don’t worry about it. We’re not looking to move those guys. One thing I know in sport is that the truth today isn’t the truth tomorrow. Don’t spend time worrying about that. Do good things and good things happen for you.
Do you find guys usually block that out?
Babcock: I think it’s different for each guy. I think it’s way different for a guy who is 19 or 20 or just arriving when they start making noise. As you know, you guys can make lots of noise.