To date, the Leafs haven’t really been cutting anyone from training camp. Ty Voit wasn’t so much of a cut as he was a late addition who pitched in and departed as soon as the Leafs were able to bring back some injured players. Fraser Minten is done with the Leafs training camp, due to a wrist injury, and I guess you can also lump Carl Dahlstrom and Jordie Benn into the camp departures as they join John Tavares and Timothy Liljegren on the list of players with injuries that will go past the opening day of the season.
Really what we are looking at is the first round of cuts and one that will coincide with the opening of the Marlies training camp next week.
As a refresher, here was the original camp roster:
Now, here’s what I’d wager the current situation looks like heading into the pre-Marlies camp cuts:
ON THE ROSTER BUBBLE
LIKELY IMMEDIATE CUTS
TY VOIT (ALREADY REASSIGNED)
To start off, players like Dylan Ferguson and Erik Kallgren really aren’t on the bubble for making the Leafs roster, they are just likely to stick around and provide the Leafs some additional goaltenders in camp. As far as non-goaltenders who are sticking around, Marshall Rafai has had a strong camp and with the Leafs lack of healthy defensemen, he could get an extended stay despite not having an NHL contract. Joseph Blandisi is another player who could stick around due to the center shortage and his ability to play against the top six in battle drills.
I’d also say that the only thing that is keeping Zach Aston-Reese off the roster locks list is his lack of a contract. He’s very much a Leaf if they can afford him.
Where I’ve probably got it wrong is there aren’t enough defensemen sticking around and probably too many forwards. Curtis Douglas, Bobby McMann, and Max Ellis could all be Marlies bound as well, although, like Blandisi, McMann and Douglas being able to line up at center could keep them around and that’s not to say that some of them haven’t been strong players, Bobby McMann, in particular, has demonstrated he could be an exciting depth call-up this year. It’s just that the Leafs might not need that many forwards and the rest of the group is much more likely to get an immediate look.
For the defensemen that could stick around due to the shortage of Leafs D, it’s possible that we see more of William Villeneuve and Mac Hollowell. Given the options, it’s not surprising that we’ve heard talk of the Leafs looking at defensive PTO options. Of the players on the “likely to be cut” list, Mac Hollowell is the only one that would require waivers.
Waivers will be another interesting thing to watch for this weekend. Friday has come and gone without the Leafs putting anyone on waivers, but it’s entirely possible that after Friday night’s game that features a number of potential camp cuts we could see the Leafs try to sneak some players through waivers this weekend. Although we’ve been so focused on the Leafs injuries we’ve neglected to notice that injuries are not uncommon at this time of year and there could be interest in some of the Leafs bubble players. Going into camp I would have said an early waivers strategy looked to be the best for the Leafs, but injuries have certainly shifted that philosophy, and we could see Kyle Dubas do what he does best, be patient.
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