Maple Leafs (preseason) hockey is back with a bang as Toronto and Ottawa open up their preseason schedules with a split-squad doubleheader today at the Scotiabank Arena (1 p.m. & 7 p.m. EST, Sportsnet & NHLN).
Here are the rosters for the two teams (find the Maple Leafs‘ projected lines at the bottom of the article):
Our two rosters for tomorrow’s preseason games vs. Ottawa 📄
We have 5 pairs of tickets up for grabs for the 1pm game! Like & reply for a chance to win👇 pic.twitter.com/Rtyz9EY7j6
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) September 23, 2022
Here we go Leafs vs Sens 1pm et
Our first look at DeBrincat, Giroux and Talbot with Ottawa.
— David Amber (@DavidAmber) September 24, 2022
– Up front, what can Calle Jarnkrok and Adam Gaudette accomplish with their opportunities in the top six next to elite scoring talent? A position is open on the left swing of the John Tavares line, and it appears as though Gaudette will play with Tavares and Mitch Marner in the 1 p.m. game based on the lines in camp. Keefe has mentioned Gaudette as a candidate to have a Michael Bunting-like emergence given the right opportunity (no pressure); the Leafs think there may be upside still to be explored with Gaudette, who once scored 12 goals and 30+ points in 59 games back in 2019-20 but has struggled with injuries, inconsistency, and limited opportunity since.
Jarnkrok, who could slot in just about anywhere in the team’s top nine, is likely to play with Bunting and Auston Matthews in the 7 p.m. game. Nick Robertson, also hoping to insert himself into the middle of the second-line LW conversation, will play in the 7 p.m. game alongside Alex Kerfoot and Nicolas Aube-Kubel based on the practice lines.
– The other storylines up front for the 1 p.m. game: Denis Malgin is receiving an opportunity on a line with William Nylander as he looks to establish himself as an NHL option again following two years in the Swiss league. Centering that line in practice was the 23-year-old Swede Pontus Holmberg, who impressed down the stretch of last season with the Marlies, in last week’s prospects tournament, and has four years of professional experience under his belt already in the SHL. There is a chance he could put himself in the fourth-line center mix if he continues to impress.
Also in the 1 p.m. game, PTO signing Zach Aston-Reese begins his bid to earn a contract on an energy/checking line with David Kampf and Joey Anderson based on the practice lines.
– With Timothy Liljegren out after hernia surgery, the Leafs appear to have TJ Brodie, Justin Holl, and a wide-open slot for the final right defense spot in the opening-night lineup for one of Jordie Benn or Victor Mete, who both will take some shifts on the right side throughout preseason as left-handers. Mete started on the right in camp, paired with Benn, but we can expect to see the two switched at some point. The pairing will play in the 7 p.m. game.
– Also in this mix is Carl Dahlstrom, who appeared in a couple of games for the Leafs last season and is another left-hander who will play the right today opposite Filip Kral, who was one of the standouts at last year’s training camp entering his first full season with the Marlies. A year later, another impressive camp would put him on the map as a callup option on the left side.
– Erik Kallgren will play the first 40 minutes for 1 p.m. game backed up by Dylan Ferguson, who will close out the third period. Ilya Samsonov will play 40 minutes in the 7 p.m. game backed up by Keith Petruzzelli, who will take over for the final 20. Sheldon Keefe mentioned wanting to give Kallgren and Samsonov extra work while affording Matt Murray more practice time to get going. Murray is slated to make his preseason debut on Wednesday vs. Montreal.
– The full Marlies coaching staff will all be involved behind the bench between the two games, with Sheldon Keefe leading the crew for both contests.
Projected Lineups: Maple Leafs vs. Senators
Here are the lines & pairs we can expect to see today based on the practice units.
1 p.m. game
Gaudette – Tavares – Marner
Malgin – Holmberg – Nylander
Aston-Reese – Kampf – Anderson
Steeves – Minten – Simmonds
Giordano – Holl
Kral – Dahlstrom
Rifai – Hollowell
Kallgren (40 minutes)
7 p.m. game
Bunting – Matthews – Jarnkrok
Robertson – Kerfoot – Aube-Kubel
McMann – Der-Arguchintsev – Abruzzese
Clifford – Slaggert – Ellis
Rielly – Brodie
Benn – Mete
Kokkonen – Villeneuve
Samsonov (40 minutes)