The Toronto Maple Leafs will feature their two newly acquired players, Mark Giordano and Colin Blackwell, when they take on the New Jersey Devils tonight at 7pm est in Toronto.
Both players were acquired by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday (the day before the NHL Trade Deadline) in a trade with the Seattle Kraken for a 2022 2nd round pick, a 2023 2nd round pick and a 2024 3rd round pick.
The 2019 Norris Trophy winner, Mark Giordano, has practiced on the Leafs third defensive pairing with Timothy Liljegren, and Colin Blackwell has been on the left wing of the fourth line with Jason Spezza and Wayne Simmonds.
Some fans may be surprised to see Giordano playing so low in the lineup, but with injuries to Jake Muzzin and Rasmus Sandin, T.J. Brodie has been moved to the left side, so three left shooters are on the left and three right shooters are on the right. Also, just because they are listed as being the “3rd pairing” doesn’t mean that is how they will be used.
It is expected that Giordano will eventually reunited with former Calgary Flames partner, Brodie, once Muzzin returns from injury. Giordano was also seen practicing as the quarterback of the Toronto Maple Leafs second powerplay unit.
Toronto Maple Leafs “Bieber Brand” Jerseys
For tonight’s “Next Gen” game, the Toronto Maple Leafs will be sporting reversible jerseys designed by Justin Bieber’s clothing label, Drew House.
They will be the first reversible jerseys to be worn in pro sports history. Although the jerseys have been widely panned on social media by fans over 30 years old, the younger crowd seems to be into them.
Personally, I think the blue side with the Leafs logo looks pretty slick with the matching socks, but I’m not too sure about the yellow side with the Drew House logo. I’m curious to see if the team reverses their jerseys to play with the yellow side out for the second period.
The Next Gen game has been an annual event since 2017 that features young fans participating in the different aspects of the broadcast and arena events.
Toronto Maple Leafs Expected Lineup
As I’m writing this, Sheldon Keefe has not yet named a starting goaltender for tonight’s game. The likely starter is Erik Källgren though he let in five goals in Toronto’s 6-3 loss to the Nashville Predators last game. Petr Mrazek seeks redemption.
Petr Mrazek remains with the team despite being placed on waivers on Sunday. With injuries to Jack Campbell and Joesph Woll, Mrazek apparently still sits ahead of Marlies goaltenders, Michael Hutchinson and Keith Petruzzelli, on the Toronto Maple Leafs depth charts.
Wayne Simmonds draws back into the lineup after being scratched for three games as Nick Robertson and Kyle Clifford were returned to the Marlies and Ondřej Kaše is day-to-day with a concussion.
Expected lineup (according to TSN’s Mark Masters)
Bunting – Matthews – Marner
Kerfoot – Tavares – Nylander
Mikheyev – Kampf – Engvall
Blackwell – Spezza – Simmonds
Rielly – Lyubushkin
Brodie – Holl
Giordano – Liljegren
I’m excited to see what the new players can bring to the team and part of me wants to see the yellow side of these Bieber jerseys make an appearance at some point during the game. Go Leafs go!