The mystery of where practice lines will come from has been solved. It appears that LeafsPR is perfectly capable of sending out the line rushes all by themselves, without the help of 20 or so Leafs beat writers.
Today’s @MapleLeafs practice lines and defensive pairings:
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) July 27, 2020
For now it looks like Freddie Gauthier will not be the fourth line center to start the qualifying round, but the Leafs are able to dress 13 forwards and 7 defensemen for tomorrow night’s exhibition game against Montreal, and I’d expect that we’ll still see Gauthier in the lineup. Not so much for Petan and Malgin. Similarly, it’s likely that Sandin will make an appearance as the 7th defenseman, but if history has taught us anything, it’s never count out Martin Marincin.
Other than that, there aren’t any surprises to this lineup. It’s what we saw to close training camp. The Leafs are hellbent on seeing what Nylander can do on the left side, which could pay huge dividends for them even beyond this series.
Of course most eyes will be on the third line as it will be an important night for Nick Robertson, but given the strong camp showing from Kapanen, we could be witnessing the birth of a game breaking third line which will help put a dent in the Blue Jackets deep blue line next week.
As for the blueline. Well, it’s the Leafs blueline. They’ll try their best.