Life without Pierre Engvall begins as the Western Canadian tour gets underway: Leafs Tailgate
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
By Nick Alberga8 months ago
Kyle Dubas and the Maple Leafs are on a roll.
On the ice, they’ve won three in a row and five of six. Off of it, they’re wheeling and dealing like it’s nobody’s business.
In case you missed it, Toronto has made four separate trades since Sunday night’s 5-1 beatdown of the Seattle Kraken to kick off their five-game road trip.
Everything. Is. Happening.
As if that wasn’t enough, starting tonight in Edmonton against the Oilers, the Leafs are making their yearly tour through Western Canada. In fact, this will be the first of two meetings with Edmonton over the next two weeks. The Oilers will visit Scotiabank Arena on Saturday, March 11th.
Meantime, as mentioned, it’s been a busy 48 hours for Dubas and company. On Monday afternoon, he acquired Jake McCabe and Sam Lafferty from Chicago. Then, on Tuesday afternoon, he dealt Rasmus Sandin to Washington, Pierre Engvall to the Islanders and acquired Erik Gustafsson, Luke Schenn and a couple draft picks. If you’re keeping score at home, dating back to February 17th, that’s now six new Maple Leafs ..and potentially counting.
I’m not done. Just for good measure, Jack Campbell could make his first appearance against Toronto since leaving last summer. Also, not to bury the lede, McDavid versus Matthews is always worth the price of admission, too.
Just watch the game, please.
The Leafs took both meetings with the Oilers in 2021-2022 outscoring them 9-3.
TIME: 8 PM ET (Sportsnet)
TOR Ilya Samsonov – LIKELY (22-7-2, 2.30, 0.918, 3 SO)
EDM Jack Campbell – LIKELY 17-8-4, 3.48, 0.884)
WHO’S IN? WHO’S OUT?
Barring something unforeseen, both Jake McCabe and Sam Lafferty are set to make their Maple Leaf debuts. To start, it looks like McCabe will be paired with T.J. Brodie while Lafferty will join a new look fourth line with fellow newcomer Noel Acciari and Zach Aston-Reese. At this time, there’s no telling if either Luke Schenn and/or Erik Gustafsson will be available for this one. And quite frankly, there’s no rush. Toronto has a ton of bodies. Long-term, I think Sheldon Keefe will filter these guys in and out of the lineup to not only get a look at some different options but also provide some much rest. Recently, the Boston Bruins have been utilizing their blue line depth to give guys like Brandon Carlo and Matt Grzelcyk, among others, a breather.
Additionally, the Oilers acquired Mattias Ekholm yesterday, I’m curious to see if he draws in. I expect the crowd to be absolute buzzing tonight, especially when you consider the time of year and how legitimate both teams are.
Personally, I think it would be the cherry on top to one of the most anticipated games of the season if the Oilers elected to go with Jack Campbell in between the pipes. Simply put, he’s been downright atrocious for them, and it would be fascinating to see him square off against his former mates. That said, Stuart Skinner has wrestled away playing time since Campbell’s early season implosion and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them roll out the rook again. That won’t stop me however from pleading with the Edmonton Oilers to start Jack Campbell tonight. I love revenge games, and undoubtedly, it would add some drama to Wednesday Night Hockey.
97 vs. 34
Lost in the shuffle of all the trade hoopla is the fact that we’re going to see two really skilled teams square off against each other. If you want to go even bigger with the branding, it’s another instalment of McDavid versus Matthews. If you do recall, last year at this time, there was a real debate on which player was better. Yeah, I love Matthews, but yeah. McDavid, who just hit 50 for the first time in his career on Monday against Boston, has the Hart Trophy already locked up with 20 games to go. Meantime, by his standards, it’s been a down season for Matthews, but we all know how quickly he can fire up. If you ask me, betting on both guys to score tonight wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
(As of Noon EDT)
Michael Bunting Assist and/or Point
THE DAILY FACEOFF TRADE DEADLINE SHOW
Join us on March 3rd for the Daily Faceoff Live: Trade Deadline edition as Frank Seravalli and the panel break down all of the latest rumours, news, and rumblings from around the NHL. The show will be live on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter from 12 PM – 4 PM ET to keep you up to date on all things trade deadline no matter where you’re watching from.
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