LGD: The beginning of the Nylander era

At the end of the day, the biggest move for the Leafs on deadline day wasn’t a blockbuster trade, or even a minor one. Though the team made a few trades before deadline day, including one late last night, the Leafs remained inactive with other teams on the day of the deadline.

No, ultimately this game really only matters for the Leafs for one reason: the expected debut of six Leafs, led by 2014 first-round draft pick William Nylander.

The Leafs

Six debuts in a February 29th game has to be some sort of a record. Expect lots of line shuffling, or none at all. It’s a third of the lineup making the Leafs debut, which is absolutely mental if you ask me for a mid-season game. P-A Parenteau stays in a Leafs uniform. Listen more to whoever told you he wouldn’t be traded before the deadline, they just might be hiding something.

The Lightning

Prepare yourself for another round of Stamkos jokes on Twitter.com.

Defensive Pairings
Victor Hedman 
Victor Hedman
Anton Stralman 
Anton Stralman
Matt Carle 
Matt Carle
Andrej Sustr 
Andrej Sustr
Nikita Nesterov 
Nikita Nesterov
Braydon Coburn 
Braydon Coburn

Tampa comes into the game on a six-game winning streak and could end tonight tied with the Panthers for the division lead. While there may be off-ice drama for the Lightning with the Drouin and Stamkos situations, it hasn’t shown many signs of affecting the rest of the team, as they’ve continued to be among the league’s top teams all year.

Starting Goalies

via GIPHY (it’s Garret Sparks)

what to watch for

  • Six new Leafs in one day is kind of like Christmas morning. 
  • How will Babcock use his players post-deadline?
  • Will Garret Sparks play well enough to stay up with the Leafs?
  • How many hat tricks will Nylander score?