The Toronto Maple Leafs are back.
Monday, July 13th is a day that many of us have been waiting for for a long time. It’s the day the Toronto Maple Leafs finally make their return to the ice as a team as they open Phase 3 of the NHL Return-To-Play plan with a training camp before entering the NHL Eastern Hub on July 26th.
This morning, the Leafs released their 34-man training camp roster, and there were few surprises to be found in the players selected.
The team will have to cut three players from the total number before entering the bubble, as 31 is the maximum allowable.
Toronto Maple Leafs Training Camp
One small update to the roster was announced by GM Kyle Dubas during a media availability: Nic Petan was cleared to play and added to the roster, defense prospect Mac Hollowell was removed.
During that same media availability, Dubas stated the team intends to travel to the bubble with “15-16 forwards, 9 or 10 defensemen and 3-4 goaltenders.” Announcing that they would be bringing a maximum of 30 players opens the door for Andreas Johnsson to potentially join the team once he is cleared to play.
The Maple Leafs are also not expected to have any players opt-out of play.
Should any choose to do so, they have until 5pm on Monday to make that decision known to the team. Most, if not all, of the roster, has been in town for at least a week now, if not longer. And as already reported, Auston Matthews is considered 100% healthy and cleared to play.
Kyle Dubas and Brendan Shanahan will be joining the players in the bubble. The rest of their 52-person contingent along with the coaches, equipment personnel, and quote “staff that will directly benefit player performance.”
While not officially confirmed, it is speculated that the NHL is asking players and staff participating in Phase 3 activities to isolate as much as possible, avoid public spaces, and take every precaution to minimize the risk of infection.
The schedule for the first couple of days of the Qualifying Round has been announced as well. As you may have expected, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets series will be given the featured 8pm primetime slot in the east for their first two games on August 2nd and 4th.
It’s an exciting time for hockey fans now that concrete plans are in motion for the sport to resume safely. Given the Maple Leafs’ and MLSE’s commitment to safety, there’s no reason to assume the return to play won’t go as smoothly as can be, so get excited, I certainly am.