Top six shuffle, Sandin back for real, and a minor league move: Leafs Practice Notes
Photo credit:© John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
By Jon Steitzer1 month ago
By the time you are reading this, the Leafs are likely already on a plane to Seattle. Not all of them will be coming home. (Look at how dramatic that is.) The Leafs western road trip extends past the trade deadline and more likely than not, someone is getting dealt and the cap situation says that there will probably be some main roster implications. We’ll see how all that plays out soon enough, for now, we’ll look at a rare full practice on a Saturday.
The story is basically the lines, so we’ll start at the bottom and work our way up to the main event.
Matt Murray was in the Leafs full practice today. That seems like good news as it will be nice to provide Samsonov some relief when they can although I don’t think at this point this is much debate over it being Samsonov’s net to lose. The Leafs can activate Murray from the LTIR on March 1st, meaning we could see him in one of the Alberta games, or the Leafs could give Woll one last kick at the can before sending him down on March 3rd to ensure he’s eligible for the AHL playoffs as well. I’d expect that will happen regardless, but it’s just a matter of how creative the Leafs will need to get with their paperwork shuffling.
Next up we see Sandin in the regular pairings again alongside Justin Holl. We saw this last practice as well and Sandin sat anyways. This time it seems a bit more certain we see him.
Now, onto the main event and that’s the swap of Marner and Nylander on the first and second lines. This is far from a big deal as we’ve seen it plenty of times before, but I think it is an especially good idea now.
Matthews has been a little flat since returning from his injury and Mitch Marner has been able to jump start Matthews plenty of times in the past. It’s not way to gauge just how considered everyone should be about Auston, and hopefully getting the band back together helps.
On the flipside of things it doesn’t hurt to get O’Reilly and Nylander playing together either. I always thought this seemed like an obvious pairing as from an archetype perspective Nylander is the closest thing Toronto has to Vladimir Tarasenko, a frequent linemate of O’Reilly’s. There’s also something to be said about putting a puck carrier on O’Reilly’s line, as Ryan benefited from David Perron excelling at that so he wouldn’t have to as well. There’s still over 20 games left and lots of things to try, this seems like a worthwhile line to test out before possibly exploring the O’Reilly 3C options.
As a long time fan of Future Considerations, I love this move for the Marlies. Dylan Ferguson definitely got lost in the shuffle of the goaltending depth chart healing up and while Toronto recently signed him, I’m sure there was some kind of logistics aspect that helped facilitate this trade because it all happened in a quick turnaround. I’m sure it’s interesting, but given the nature of the deal, I’m not sure who could be bothered to look into it.
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