Meet the Bubble Boyz

As reported yesterday, the Leafs have made the necessary cuts to compile with entrance to the Toronto bubble. 

So let’s get the biggest takeaways out the way early here.

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  1. The Leafs have hope that Liljegren and Johnsson will be ready at some point, and while even if it’s not immediately, both are seen as better alternatives than say, Kivihalme or Adam Brooks.
  2. Nick Robertson made the team! As he should have. He was great in camp, and has earned a chance to at least show what he can do in the exhibition game. It’s also a huge benefit for guys like Robertson, Woll, Liljegren, and Sandin to be around the playoffs even if they aren’t playing.
  3. The Adam Brooks scratch is an interesting one, as there seems to be a benefit to carrying capable centers to pitch in. Of course there are plenty of players who can move from the wing to center in that group as well, so Brooks probably isn’t much of an issue and the only real surprise for who beat him out is…
  4. Nic Petan made the roster? I’m not sure I understand this choice at all, but clearly they saw something from him in camp, after initially not even inviting him. Maybe he’s got a chip on his shoulder that they are wanting to exploit.
  5. After hearing so much about Agostino, he didn’t make it. I mean, look at the Leafs wingers and look at how Nic Robertson played, and it makes a ton of sense. For that matter, I’d much rather cry over Egor Korshkov not making it, but honestly, what are you going to do at this point? That forward group is incredibly solid.
  6. Going with four goaltenders seems like a smart move. Potentially this means Andersen can be as active or in active as he wants to be in practice, and the Leafs will always still have two goaltenders to go. They will also have a goaltender to work with their black aces, and the safety net of being able to still have some balance if either Andersen or Campbell get hurt or sick.

From the looks of things, the following will be the Leafs roster heading into their exhibition game against Montreal:

Cody Ceci aside, that has to sit good with most Leafs fans. There will still be some battling to determine whether Gauthier will be in the lineup, and there is always a fingers crossed situation that Rasmus Sandin will find a way, but for a potential Game 1 lineup, this is encouraging.

Previewing the roster

Over the past month we’ve been breaking down the Leafs potential bubble roster and what to expect from them. You can find those profiles in the depth chart below…

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Hyman Matthews Nylander Muzzin Holl Andersen
Mikheyev Tavares Marner Rielly Ceci Campbell
Robertson Kerfoot Kapanen Dermott Barrie Woll
Clifford Engvall Spezza Sandin Marincin Kaskisuo
Johnsson Gauthier Malgin Rosen Liljegren

The decision to keep it to 30 players, instead of 31 like they could have decided to go with was made so the Leafs could include either an extra medical staff member or player development coach to assist in the bubble. While we don’t know what the full 52 Maple Leafs bubble group looks like, we do know the Leafs have invested so heavily in their off ice personnel over the past few years, this is potentially a way of them gaining an advantage, by having their best resources at their finger tips. Strong conditioning could make a difference in the playoffs, but bringing Kenny Agostino or Adam Brooks along instead might have a decidedly smaller impact.

Today the Leafs officially enter the bubble, and we can begin counting down the days until hockey. Tuesday night will provide a welcome appetizer to that main event.