The Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Florida Panthers today in Florida.
The Toronto Maple Leafs travel to Florida today in the middle of what would otherwise be a seven game homestand.
Not that leaving Toronto and going to Florida should be seen as a negative in the middle of January, but it is a weird scheduling quirk in a season seemingly filled with them.
The Toronto Maple Leafs will look to get back into the win column tonight with Freddie Andersen presumably back in net, after a let down against the Jets the other night.
The Leafs wasted one of their better defensive efforts of the year and ended up with only a single loser point after tying the game late.
After a three day rest they’ll look to pick up a deuce against an inferior Panthers team. (They’re an OK team, but most every team is inferior to the might Leafs these days).
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Panthers
The Leafs may get a bonus today in the form of a returning Andreas Johnson. Johnson scored at a first line rate last year and is a pretty underrated player.
Just because the Leafs are the deepest team in hockey doesn’t mean they don’t miss one of their grittiest forwards.
The former seventh round pick practiced on the fourth line and may have difficulty taking back his spot with Auston Matthews, as it’s gone to Zach Hymen since Johnson was injured.
Alex Kerfoot has been an elite defensive presence and really upped his game since moving to the wing with Johnny T and William (team MVP) Nylander.
Regardless, Johnson is a solid player and his return is going to help the team, although with his contract and the teams’ absolutely astounding depth, he may end up as part of a package as the NHL’s trade deadline approaches.
The Leafs could be happy with their roster, but that seems doubtful. They could move Johnson, Kapanen and Ceci and open up enough cap space to trade for anyone.
If they are willing to move Sandin, they could get anyone available. Though that is probably unlikely, given the value of a star player on a league-minimum entry deal, something that Sandin looks capable of doing.
Either way, today’s game should be nice after a rare Saturday without the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the trade stuff will work itself out.
The Leafs hope to get two points to keep pace with the Lightning who are now on a ten game winning streak.