Everybody knew that this year’s training camp was going to be a free-for-all, but today, the Leafs announced just how extensive things will get. In pursuit of a final 23-man roster, the Leafs have invited a historically massive pile of talent, including 42 forwards, 24 defencemen, and seven goaltenders. Here’s a quick look at who the Leafs will be bringing with them.
You know, the sure things. Guys that will only not be playing opening night if they get injured, or if the Leafs find a way to trade them beforehand. Sure, they’ll still have to prove that they didn’t suddenly become trash, but the odds are lopsided in their favour. We don’t need to spend much time breaking them down, so here they are.
Forwards: Joffrey Lupul, James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, Nazem Kadri, Leo Komarov, Shawn Matthias, Daniel Winnik, Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau, Richard Panik, Peter Holland
Defence: Dion Phaneuf, Jake Gardiner, Stephane Robidas, Roman Polak, Matt Hunwick, Morgan Rielly
Goaltenders: James Reimer, Jonathan Bernier
The Bubble Bunch
These are the guys who can possibly fill out the fourth line, or seventh pairing spots that are still under contract. I’d say Spaling and Arcobello are close to locks, but not good enough that you can discount anything. They’re the type of players that the team would let go to waivers if forced, but probably would feel bad about losing.
Forwards: Nick Spaling, Casey Bailey, Marc Arcobello, Taylor Beck, Matt Frattin, Zach Hyman
Defence: TJ Brennan, Martin Marincin
Fighting for their careers! We’ve covered the forwards pretty extensively over the past couple of weeks, but Fraser is a new name; at least as far as this roster. You may remember Mark Fraser for winning over the hearts of Leafs Nation with his grit and positive attitude, and for crippling the brains of Leafs Nation by being detrimental to the team at the NHL level.
I don’t see him as likely to actually make the cut; this is likely a loyalty favour from both the Leafs and Lou Lamoriello (Fraser was a long-time Devil) to help him get a job elsewhere. With this many men on the roster, it’s not like he’s taking up space, percentage wise.
Forwards: Curtis Glencross, Devin Setoguchi, Brad Boyes
Defence: Mark Fraser
These are the guys that are almost assuredly going to make up the Toronto Marlies and Orlando Solar Bears this year. Some of them you feel bad about sending to this level; Wiliam Nylander is probably already an NHL top-six forward, Connor Brown can likely put up NHL points, and both Sam Carrick and Byron Froese could definitely play bottom six. But it just goes to show the depth of the system, given that this is the biggest group. Many of them can’t even make the Leafs, as they have AHL/ECHL two-way contracts.
Forwards: Connor Brown, Sam Carrick, Richard Clune, Eric Faille, TJ Foster, Byron Froese, Frederik Gauthier, Justin Johnson, Kasperi Kapanen, Josh Leivo, Brendan Leipsic, William Nylander, Jack Rodewald, Matt Rupert, Ryan Rupert, Nikolai Skladnichenko, Nikita Soshnikov, Brady Vail, Carter Verhaeghe
Defence: Andrew Campbell, Matt Finn, Petter Granberg, Scott Harrington, Justin Holl, Nick Nicastro, Tom Nilsson, Stuart Percy, Rinat Valiev
Goaltenders: Antoine Bibeau, Christopher Gibson, Garret Sparks, Rob Madore
Marner will be the hardest to turn away, but if we’re being realistic, all of these guys are going back to junior. The camp serves as a way for them to learn the ropes, both in terms of what it’s like to be a Leaf, and what it’s like to be a pro.
Forwards: Martins Dzierkals, Mitch Marner, Dmytro Timashov
Defence: Travis Dermott, Stephen Desrocher, Cody Donaghey, Andrew Nielsen
The Rookie Tryouts
Like the PTOs, these guys are fighting for their right to have their rights claimed. They’re all gigantic longshots to get NHL Entry Level Contracts, but one or two might pick up an AHL/ECHL two-way; particularly Joly, who was a teammate of Frederik Gauthier’s in the Q.
Forwards: Michael Joly
Defence: Aiden Jamieson
Goaltenders: Lucas Peressini
Training camp opens with Media Day tomorrow at the Mastercard Centre, after which the team will fly ou to Halifax to get themselves prepared for the season ahead. Stay tuned to see who sticks!