A very small number of opening night Maple Leafs will dress tonight on the road in Belleville in what will likely be many players’ final day in training camp as the Toronto Marlies are due to open the AHL training camp on Monday.
Head Coach Sheldon Keefe stated earlier this week that Ilya Samsonov and Matt Murray will be getting full games in their respective starts for the remainder of training camp and Samsonov gets the nod tonight in front of a prospect-heavy defensive core, so the young netminder’s skills will be put to the test tonight against a much more NHL-calibre Senators squad.
This might be the last time we see players like Joey Anderson, Victor Mete, and perhaps even Wayne Simmonds. All three, among others, were players on the bubble of making the team out of camp to begin with, and none of them have especially stood out from the pack.
For Simmonds especially, it might be a hard pill to swallow, given the reports during the offseason of the work he’s been putting in to remain an NHL player, but the deck has been somewhat stacked against him by both Father Time and the Leafs’ newfound depth on the wings. If this is truly it for the Wayne Train in the NHL, hopefully the organization does the proper thing in giving him the “C” with the Marlies for this season.
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Lineups

As previously mentioned, it’ll be a Marlies-heavy lineup tonight. Going by the practice lines from yesterday, it can be expected that this will be the lines:
Malgin – Holmberg – Robertson
Aston-Reese – Kampf – Aube-Kubel
McMann – SDA – Anderson
Steeves – Shaw – Simmonds
Kral – Holl
Mete – Villeneuve
Rifai – Hollowell
Samsonov will be getting the start and the full game. Mikko Kokkonen, Pavel Gogolev and Matteo Pietroniro appear to be the healthy scratches.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ice, the Senators apparently missed the memo on icing an AHL-centric squad in their own AHL team’s barn and will be showcasing a much more NHL-heavy lineup:
There are no details at this time as to what their specific lineup will look like or which goaltender is getting the start, but a safe assumption would be to expect Anton Forsberg to take the crease for this one.
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Players to Watch

At first glance, it’s odd to see Stutzle dressing without his supposed day-one linemates Alex DeBrincat and Claude Giroux. Could it be DJ Smith getting a look at how the young up and coming star thrives carrying his own line, or is it a hint that there’s trouble in paradise already?
For the Leafs, there are no shortage of players to watch, but particularly of note are the top line wingers, Malgin and Robertson, who are at this time, the most likely candidates to win some of the open spots at forward out of camp, and Wayne Simmonds, who, as mentioned above, might be getting just one last shot to prove he still has what it takes to retain the NHL roster spot he all but lost in his lackluster showing suring last season’s playoffs.
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The game begins at 7PM ET and will be broadcast nationally on Sportsnet One.