Another day, another preseason game. The farce continues and soon our wish for regular season games and cuts will be answered. For now, the Red Wings. A team that has a hard time putting together a NHL roster caliber roster on a good day and even more challenged with doing so in the preseason. The fact that the game tonight is in Detroit probably means this is their “A” lineup and we’ll see the scrubs tomorrow night, but that’s fine. Let the Marlies squad have their fun tonight, for cuts will be coming soon and answers will be had for who made the team.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) September 26, 2019
That’s an interesting group and inspires these thoughts…
1. Are Sandin and Marincin there to be compared to the field?
At this point it seems like the Sandin and Marincin pairing is locked and loaded and written in ink for the opening night roster, but perhaps some due diligence is being done by comparing them to bottom pairing competitors like Harpur, Schmaltz, Liljegren and Kivihalme. It also gives them a chance to be the true top pairing against the Wings, and see plenty of ice time against better NHL players.
Additionally to this, Gravel and Holl will get their shot to show their chops with the Leafs main squad tomorrow night and make their cases for why we’ve all been wrong about the Sandin/Marincin pairing or at least compete for the 7D spot.
2. Petan vs. Timashov
Are we seeing this battle draw to a close tonight? Will this determine who gets the privilege of playing on Freddie Gauthier’s wing? Anyway, it’s definitely an ongoing battle and the fact that Gauthier isn’t in this game is a bit disappointing, not only because I’d like to see him more on the bubble, but also because it would be nice to see how he works with each of these players.
3. Matt Read?
Is Matt Read going to hang around? It seems like a contract from the Leafs isn’t going to happen at this point. Babcock has shown some comfort with the younger players and really we should all be damned happy about that, but is Matt Read willing to take an AHL deal with the Marlies, could he be someone who stews away down there this year? Does this matter? Not really, but we’re trying to find storylines in B Squad preseason game and this is one of them.
4. Will Hutchinson inspire confidence?
He definitely did against Montreal and my assumption is that having a veteran backup is something that Mike Babcock would prefer rather than bringing in a young goalie he doesn’t know late in camp and being told that he’ll be his backup. The job seems to be Hutchinson’s but with that our eyes should become more critical too. My hope is still that Dubas will try and pry a goaltender who cleared waivers out of another organization to have a solid #3 option, but then again, as long as NHL service is only required short term, the Leafs aren’t going to be done in my Kaskisuo.
5. The Long Shots/Waiver Claim Guys
Can Aberg and Agostino show anything tonight to put them into the conversation for a roster spot? My guess at this point is no, but there’s still something to be said for establishing the pecking order when it comes to recalls this year. There’s also the interesting situation of whether either of these guys would be claimed off of waivers. My guess is that the Leafs will be able to safely send them down, as it’s hard to imagine that every team doesn’t have their own guys that are they’d rather test in the regular season over claiming someone else’s depth wingers.
Tonight’s game starts at 7:30 PM ET and can be seen across Canada on Sportsnet One.