Following an abbreviated offseason that was still longer than the Leafs and their fans had hoped for, the team signaled the opening of their 2021 training camp on Wednesday morning with the unveiling of their camp roster.
The group includes 28 forwards, including new additions @Nick Ritchie, @David Kampf, @Michael Bunting, and @Ondrej Kase, as well as Josh Ho-Sang and Nikita Gusev who are attending camp on professional try out agreements in hopes of securing NHL contracts. @Mikhail Abramov is set to begin his first professional season and will look to build off of a strong showing at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament where he, @Nicholas Robertson, and Semyon Der-Arguchintsev were Toronto’s best players. With so many bodies up front, it will be difficult for the young guys to earn a spot on the opening night roster but Robertson could force a difficult decision for the Leafs’ brass if he continues his dominant play from the prospect tournament.
@Auston Matthews is still recovering from offseason surgery to repair a lingering wrist injury and he will begin training camp on injured reserve. The initial timeline for Matthews’ recovery was a minimum of six weeks, making a full return towards the end of camp a possibility. Undrafted free agent signing Alex Steeves will also begin camp on injured reserve after suffering a shoulder injury in the opening game of the Traverse City Prospects Tournament.
17 defensemen will participate in the Leafs’ training camp but there doesn’t appear to be many jobs up for grabs. The Leafs are returning their top-four group of @Morgan Rielly, TJ Brodie, @Jake Muzzin, and @Justin Holl who were a major bright spot for the team last season and @Rasmus Sandin is expected to begin the season on the third pairing alongside @Travis Dermott. The biggest battle might be for the role of seventh defenseman, with @Timothy Liljegren the early favorite to win that spot over veterans @Alex Biega and @Carl Dahlstrom who were brought in on two-way deals as free agents this summer.
The Leafs will begin camp with six goaltenders but barring injury, their NHL tandem of @Jack Campbell and @Petr Mrazek is set in stone. @Joseph Woll, @Michael Hutchinson, @Erik Kallgren, and @Ian Scott will likely be battling for playing time between the Marlies and Growlers this coming season and they will all be looking to put their best foot forward with a strong showing at the NHL camp.