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Noah Gregor’s spot with the Maple Leafs is his to lose

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Photo credit:Steven Ellis/Daily Faceoff
Nick Alberga
8 months ago
If there’s one thing that’s become crystal clear – at least to me – over the first week of Maple Leafs training camp, it’s that Noah Gregor deserves a spot on Toronto’s opening night roster.
As expected, the 25-year-old forward, who’s currently in camp on a PTO, has come pretty much as advertised. He’s provided a nice blend of speed, bite, and intensity, something this squad direly needs more of in their bottom six. To this point, he’s done nothing but help his chances of landing a new contract —that’s for sure. Furthermore, I liked the looks of the Gregor-Lafferty combo on Wednesday night against Buffalo. Sheldon Keefe could be onto something there.
Additionally, unfortunately, Dylan Gambrell, who Gregor mentioned to me and Jay Rosehill on Leafs Morning Take a few weeks back that he would be bunking with in training camp, was diagnosed with a concussion on Wednesday. Conceivably, that should take him out of the immediate running for that coveted roster spot as well, right?
Meantime, assuming Gregor continues to prove his worth moving forward, it appears that the Leafs could be destined for yet another battle with their old nemesis: The NHL salary cap. Even if he’s looking for the league minimum, there’s no question Brandon Pridham and company will have to do some manoeuvring to try and make things work.
Ultimately, the decision will likely come down to Nick Robertson or Gregor, although I think Pontus Holmberg and Bobby McMann, among others, are certainly still very much alive in the conversation. As for Robertson, it’s been a mixed bag thus far through two outings, and on top of that, the fact that he’s still waiver exempt will probably work against him as well.
Any way you slice it, there’s a battle brewing with now less than two weeks remaining in training camp. My money’s on Noah Gregor.
 

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