There could always be a few paper shuffling transactions we see between now and puck drop on Wednesday night, but the Leafs have completed their transactions to get the roster down to 23 players.
We still don’t know who from Sunday has cleared or not (SPOILER: probably all of them), but we have some interesting names on waivers today…
The @MapleLeafs announced today that the hockey club has reduced its roster to 23 players (13 forwards, eight defencemen and two goaltenders).
The following players have been placed on waivers: Connor Carrick, Curtis McElhinney and Calvin Pickard.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) October 1, 2018
We’ll get to what it means for those players in a minute, but first let’s look at what the Leafs roster is heading into opening night
Reserve: Marincin, Holl
Assuming the Leafs will be adding William Nylander at some point in the near that means that Gauthier, Marincin, and Holl shouldn’t get too comfortable, although I have to say I’m excited that we’ll get to see what the Leafs have in Holl.
Ozhiganov and Lindholm seemed like locks based on who they were playing with, so really that’s much of a surprise.
Marincin and Holl making the team are probably the most telling sign of the Dubas era, as Holl shows a lot of promise, and Marincin is pretty much the idea 7th defenseman to carry.
Gauthier being around is probably the biggest head scratcher of the lot. He’s not good, he’s had his chances, and he didn’t look good in camp. It’s probably not worth a whole lot of thought, but he’s here and that’s weird.
Finally, Garret Sparks. Deep down we always knew he was going to be the backup based off asset management, and an intriguing AHL season to his name. I’m sure his underwhelming NHL numbers and poor preseason will give him a short leash, with two viable backups potentially in waiting, but the fact that he’s made the team isn’t surprising at all. Maybe just disappointing for some.
Now the interesting stuff.
As a fan of Calvin Pickard, I’m disappointed, but his departure is the least surprising of the three. Ideally he’ll get a chance to be the Marlies starter, and get a chance to take another run at the NHL. An opportunity he is very deserving of.
Curtis McElhinney also isn’t much of a surprise, and he probably has a very real shot at being claimed off of waivers, especially with teams like Carolina dealing with a goaltender injury. Part of me wonders if McElhinney was the ideal backup but Dubas isn’t comfortable with letting Sparks go for nothing. Maybe this is wishful thinking on my part, but backup goaltending shouldn’t be a big issue in October.
Finally, the most interesting name on the list…
Yep. Connor Carrick got cut from the Leafs today, and that’s interesting since he’s be on the team for two years, done fairly well, but failed to earn Mike Babcock’s trust. This seems like it’s a matter of the relationship clearly not working and the Leafs choosing to do the humane thing by moving on from him.
It’s hard to imagine that someone of Carrick’s ability, and right handed shot won’t be picked up off of waivers, but normally when we think that the player has no problem clearing. This would be the ideal situation for the Leafs, as a cleared Carrick would be a solid asset for the Leafs to move, and one way or another I’d have to assume his time with the organization will be over this week.
More to Come…
I hate to quote the wish and all knowing Eklund, but really that’s the case. There is a lot going on with the Leafs with two NHL calibre backups on waivers, a potential NHL defenseman on waivers, and still the matter of the Nylander signing to deal with this week. No shortage of things to keep us interested until puck drop on Wednesday.
I love this time of year.