Tonight, the Toronto Maple Leafs host Tyler Bozak and the St. Louis Blues.
This summer, The Toronto Maple Leafs lost their longest serving player. Tyler Bozak and his family packed their bags for St. Louis, Missouri. On July 1st, Bozak had agreed to a three year contract worth 15 million USD. Per CapFriendly, the average annual cap hit is 5 million USD and his contract carries a modified no-trade clause. In terms of the clause, its a 10 team no trade list.
Prior to signing, Bozak had played with the Toronto Maple Leafs for 9 seasons from 2009 to 2018. In his tenure with the Maple Leafs, he registered 136 goals, 229 assists, 46 power-play goals, 58 power-play assists, 18:23 ATOI and a 48.8 corsi-for percentage (CF%) in 594 games played.
After the Toronto Maple Leafs signed John Tavares, there simply wasn’t a spot available to re-sign Bozak. This led Bozak to explore his options across the National Hockey League and ultimately led to him with Blues.
So far this season, Bozak has been featured on the Blues’ third line. He’s playing alongside another former Toronto Maple Leaf, Alexander Steen as well as Patrick Maroon. Unfortunately for the Blues, their third line has been quiet to begin the season, but the season is very long and the trio will eventually get into a rhythm.
Aside from the Blues third line pairing, their offense as a whole is going to be fun to watch. Their top six is outstanding. Mike Yeo, the Blues head coach has Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko on his top line. The trio has a combined 13 points on the season. Unfortunately for Yeo, only 2 of those points have been at even strength.
On the second line, Yeo features Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron and Zachary Sanford. Similarly to the Blues first line, this unit hasn’t looked too hot at even strength. So ultimately the goal for the Maple Leafs is take as few penalties as possible. Don’t give the Blues a chance to capitalize when they are up a man.
In the defensive end, the Blues have looked atrocious. Jordan Schmaltz and Chris Butler are the only two Blues defensemen that have a CF% over 50%. Yet, their CF% is a tad inflated due to their ice-time. To this point in the season, Butler’s TOI/60 is 16:23 and Schmaltz’s is 12:08.
Last but not least, the Blues goal-tending hasn’t looked all that impressive either. Their starting net-minder, Jake Allen owns a 3.91 GAA and a .877 SV% in 5 games played.
Toronto Maple Leafs
In terms of the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup, there has been a minor change.
Per a report from TSN’s Kristen Shilton, Mike Babcock has decided to change up his fourth offensive line. In the tweet below, you’ll see that Babcock has decided to scratch Tyler Ennis, move Josh Leivo to left-wing and plug Andreas Johnsson on the right-wing.
Johnsson was a healthy scratch on Thursday night when the Maple Leafs took on the Pittsburgh Penguins. Aside from Johnsson, Babcock has decided to keep his lines intact.
Puck Drop & TV
The game will start at approximately 7:05 pm EST and the game can be found on NHL Network in the United States and CBC in Canada.
stats from NHL.com and hockey-reference.com