Photo credit:David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
Giordano for Masterton, Schenn scratched, and Jarnkrok skating: Leafs News and Notes
By Jon Steitzer10 months ago
Today much of the focus will be on whether or not Matthew Knies makes his debut with the Leafs tonight and if so, who will he line up with and how many minutes will he play. Toronto is going without their usual gameday morning skate and further adding to that mystery and we’ll be left waiting for either a Sheldon Keefe availability or line rushes during the warmups to fill in the blanks.
In addition to the 24/7 Knies watch there were a few other things of note today in Leafs land, here they are.
Mark Giordano is the Toronto Masterton nominee
The Masterton has always been somewhat of a strange award and there is something goofy about being amazed that a 39 year old athlete hasn’t had their bones completely turned to dust.
That said, Mark Giordano is a great nomination in that his commitment to winning in Toronto and taking a deep discount because winning as a Leaf means so much to him is commendable and in that spirit of the award. The fact that Giordano very much did the heavy lifting when Morgan Rielly and TJ Brodie were injured and became the de facto number one defenseman with the workload that goes along with it was something not many people expected from Giordano this year. Combine all that with Giordano being the “all-time” shot block leader (or at least the shot block leader for as long as it’s been tracked) is huge and being the guy who has faced the most rubber without wearing goaltender equipment and playing a high level at the age of 39 is worth celebrating.
Will he win? Probably not, but he should be the NHL’s top “wow, look at this old guy” candidate.
Luke Schenn is sitting tonight
The defensive rotation continues and with Erik Gustafsson having a three point night after his recent absence probably keeps him in the lineup for at least tonight. It’s also an interesting opportunity to potentially see what the Leafs could look like with both Rielly and Gustafsson in the lineup on the road and assess if that is too much offense from the blue line. With the Panthers having a lot to play for, this is the last game that is a good test of lineup decisions prior to facing the Lightning (to who you don’t want to show all your cards) and the Rangers (who are as checked out as the Leafs about the regular season.)
As for Schenn, his last game was one he’d probably like a do-over on, but having him come in with high energy and ready to throw hits against the Lightning is probably what the Leafs are hoping for.
A skate is probably just a skate at this point and Jarnkrok isn’t necessarily returning to the lineup tonight. If he is that might have to delay the Matthew Knies era for another day, so I’m sure most Leafs fans would rather be cautious with Jarnkrok and tune in tonight to see the shiny new toy.
Once Jarnkrok is good to go he’ll presumably slot back into the top six either on Matthews’ or Tavares’ wing. Ideally we don’t see a Bunting-Matthews-Jarnkrok line again, so I’m leaning toward Tavares at the moment.
More prospect accolades
There is a lot to like about Ty Voit and these are definitely a couple of those top things. Voit was always a savvy pick by Kyle Dubas but the extent that Voit has already taken giant leaps forward is truly encouraging. He is already under contract and is eligible to play on the Marlies next season, so it will be interesting to see if he makes the jump to pro next year.
The Leafs play tonight at 7 pm ET against the Florida Panthers. The game can be seen nationally on Sportsnet.
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