The Leafs’ training camp roster got a good chunk smaller and a bit more manageable this morning, as the team shipped off 23 players to their respective junior clubs and the Marlies.
There aren’t really any surprises here, and the group is still huge at 53, it’s just clear something had to give with the team leaving Halifax and headed back home to Mastercard Centre for the next portion of camp.
The folks headed back to major junior, which is already in full swing, are as follows:
Stephen Desrocher (Kingston, OHL)
Martins Dzierkals (Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL)
Tye Felhaber (Saginaw, OHL)
Nikita Korostelev (Sarnia, OHL)
Nicolas Mattinen (London, OHL)
Keaton Middleton (Saginaw, OHL)
JJ Piccinich (London, OHL)
Jack Walker (Victoria, WHL)
Tyler Wong (Lethbridge, WHL)
Perhaps the most notable names from that list are Dzierkals and Korostelev, both late-round picks from the summer of 2015, but who had some hype behind them at draft time. “Steals”, if you will.
Dzierkals had a solid season in 2015-16 in his first on this side of the pond after leaving Latvia, while Korostelev disappointingly stalled production-wise with the Sting. Either way, there’s no chance these guys will be in the big club’s plans for a few years, if at all.
Outside of the junior-aged kids, the following have been sent to Marlies camp, which will open next Monday (October 3rd):
As mentioned in the official release, the Leafs still have 53 players at camp (32F, 16D, 5G) and will play their next preseason tilt in St. Catherines against the Sabres. Expect them to trim to a more reasonable number (around 35 or so) not long after.