Leafs trim training camp roster, assign 27 players to Marlies
Photo credit:Steven Ellis
By Nick Richard2 months ago
The Leafs’ opening night roster is beginning to take shape, and now, so too is the Marlies’. Ahead of Monday’s preseason tilt with the Montreal Canadiens that will see most of Toronto’s regulars suiting up, the club announced that 27 players had been assigned to the AHL.
Forwards: Nick Abruzzese, Joseph Blandisi, Max Ellis, Roni Hirvonen, Braeden Kressler, Robert Mastrosimone, Dmitry Ovchinnikov, Jay O’Brien, Neil Shea, Logan Shaw, Tate Singleton, Josiah Slavin, Alex Steeves, Keenan Suthers, Ryan Tverberg, Ty Voit, Tyler Weiss
Defencemen: Nolan Dillingham, Matt Hellickson, Topi Niemelä, Matteo Pietroniro, Marshall Rifai, Johnny Tychonick, William Villeneuve
Goaltenders: Luke Cavallin, Dennis Hildeby, Vyacheslav Peksa
There are no big surprises among the first big wave of Leafs’ cuts, but a handful of players made strong impressions in their brief preseason auditions with the big club.
Nick Abruzzese and Alex Steeves are a pair of depth forwards who have played NHL games already, and they both made strong cases to be in consideration as primary call-up options should injuries arise. Both players are now considered veterans on the Marlies’ squad and should play prominent roles from the outset of the AHL season.
Topi Niemelä also performed well in limited action, displaying composure and efficient puck-moving ability from the back end. He still requires further seasoning as he gets set to begin his first full year in the AHL, but the Leafs have to feel good about how their top defensive prospect handled his first NHL camp.
Following the cuts, Toronto’s training camp roster is down to a much more manageable group that includes 19 forwards, 13 defencemen, and four goaltenders. Among the remaining forwards, Dylan Gambrell, Calle Järnkrok, and Bobby McMann have all been working their way back from injuries. On the blue line, Conor Timmins is also on the shelf and looks destined to hit injured reserve ahead of the regular season, while John Klingberg should be ready to return to action in the coming days.
Notably, 19-year-old undrafted invite Spencer Sova was not among Monday’s roster cuts and could be on his way to earning an entry-level contract with the club. The 6’1″, 185 pound blueliner has suited up for the Leafs in one preseason contest thus far after piling up 16 goals and 23 assists in 68 games for the Erie Otters a season ago. With Toronto’s lack of prospect depth on the back end, Sova is a name to keep an eye on as camp winds down.
Following Monday’s matchup with the Canadiens, the Leafs will likely trim their roster down even further before wrapping up their preseason schedule with a home and home against Detroit on Thursday and Saturday.
(Statistics from EliteProspects.com)
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