LGD: Yup, It’s Not Just Trade Speculation This Week

In a season that has become far less about the product on the ice and far more about what the management team is doing, the games this week seem even more buried that usual. With only six more sleeps before the trade deadline, the Maple Leafs are well into the fire sale and there’s a good chance fans at the ACC will be more interested in the speculation on Twitter than how mark Arcobello is doing on the second powerplay unit. 

In any season, getting up for a game against Nashville on a Tuesday in late-February is a difficult task but this season more than most, the outcome of the game will be of little interest beyond “are we below the Oilers in the standings yet?”

The Leafs

If there is one thing to look for tonight it will be how Mike Babcock uses the players the team is trying to flip before the trade deadline. Last weekend Roman Polak, Shawn Matthias and Nick Spaling all saw a boost in their play and were immediately shipped out of town. There’s a good chance we see Grabner and Parenteau put in spot to succeed hoping that a rival GM is finally willing to bite on the asking price.

He’s still out of the lineup but Tyler Bozak has begun skating with the team. Before suffering a head injury, Bozak’s name is one that had been floated in trade speculation by guys like Daren Dreger and the fact that he’s on the ice is a good sign. He could be working his way back into the lineup or at the very least showing an interesting team that he’s getting close to it.

Lineups via DailyFaceoff

Nashville comes into town after a 2-1 shootout victory in Montreal last night. While the game means little to the Leafs, it is an important one for the Predators who currently sit in a Western Conference Wild Card position and would love another two points to build a bit of a cushion on Minnesota and Colorado.  If a team wants to be in the playoffs they have to be win games in which their opponent has Mark Arcobello as the second line center. 

Lines Via DailyFaceoff

Defensive Pairings
Roman Josi 
Roman Josi
Shea Weber 
Shea Weber
Mattias Ekholm 
Mattias Ekholm
Ryan Ellis 
Ryan Ellis
Anthony Bitetto 
Anthony Bitetto
Petter Granberg 
Petter Granberg

Starting Goalies


James Reimer is getting his first start in more than a week. With Brian Elliot leaving last night’s game with an injury, St. Louis might be in the market for a goalie so and Reimer’s name to the list of players being talked about in those Leaf/Blues trade rumors from yesterday.

vs


He makes saves while sitting in the crowd, Carter Hutton has to be good.

What To Watch For

  • Will Babcock load up the minutes for guys like Grabner, Acrobello and Parenteau in hopes that the scouts and AGMs in attendance like what they see?
  • Can Brendan Leipsic build on his great debut and show he belongs in the conversation as a key piece to the future of the team? He has been skating on the team’s top line since getting recalled and he is likely looking to make Nashville regret trading him away a year ago. 
  • Will Viktor Loov and Stuart Percy make the most of their call up and show that they are NHL players worthy of new contracts this summer?
  • Watch Filip Forsberg and remember that no matter how idiotic some of the trade speculation this week seems, the Washington Capitals traded Forsberg for an overpriced and aging Martin Erat.