Jake Muzzin skates, Denis Malgin being tested on second line: Leafs Camp Report
Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
By Nick Barden1 year ago
After a much needed day off, the Maple Leafs got back to work on Monday in what’s now the end of training camp and the beginning of preseason, according to head coach Sheldon Keefe.
Toronto began this week with two groups of skaters, though each group did have some changes after the first set of games this past weekend.
Missing from the list of players are Adam Gaudette and David Kampf, who were both absent from Monday’s session. Gaudette is day-to-day with a shoulder injury and Kampf was taking a day for personal reasons, the Maple Leafs said.
Jake Muzzin took to the ice for the first time since missing the start of training camp last week. He skated with Pierre Engvall, who also is out until early October with an ankle/foot injury.
Keefe discussed the Muzzin injury in more detail after both of Monday’s skates concluded.
With a new set of groups means some brand new line combinations to look too much into. And today’s first line that got that treatment was Denis Malgin with both William Nylander and John Tavares.
Malgin did have an impressive game on Saturday, scoring a goal and having plenty of chemistry with both Nylander and Pontus Holmberg. It seems like now the Maple Leafs want to see if the 25-year-old fits on the second line in a full-time role.
Aside from that line combination, there wasn’t much from the forwards that caught my eye. What did get my attention, though, was the defence pairing of Morgan Rielly and Jordie Benn.
This is the first time we’ve seen this pairing in camp, and I wonder if it’s something Toronto is really taking a look at. With Timothy Liljegren out, Benn could make a good partner for an offensively-minded defender like Rielly.
Another first is seeing Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov together in a group. Murray is getting set to see his first game of preseason action on Wednesday when Toronto takes on the Canadiens.
What I like about Murray is that he’s focused on getting ready for the first game of the regular season and isn’t thinking too much about putting on the Maple Leafs jersey.
Keefe also mentioned that both Murray and Samsonov will get full games after Wednesday’s matchup against Montreal.
We didn’t get much in terms of Group 2 lines on Monday, however, there were some interesting combinations throughout the skate.
I’ll start by saying a line of Zach Aston-Reese, Alex Kerfoot, and Calle Jarnkrok could be a sneaky two-way line. All three players are great defensively and have the potential to be offensive standouts. This might be one of the more fascinating line combos coming from Maple Leafs’ camp.
Having Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie as partners is quite intriguing, too, since they did play aside each other in Calgary for some time. They could have the potential to be a shutdown pairing throughout the year, if ever placed together during the regular season or playoffs.
Both are incredibly smart with and without the puck, plus they have the experience of playing alongside each other. I’d love to see this pairing go to work at some point during the preseason.
More from TheLeafsNation.com:
- Some way too early training camp analysis: Leaflets by Jon Steitzer
PointsBet is live in Ontario. Get started here.
Recent articles from Nick Barden