The Toronto Maple Leafs have now made it through half of their pre-season schedule after a solid 2-1 victory over the hated Montreal Canadiens Friday Night.
The victory evened out the Toronto Maple Leafs pre-season record at 2-2.
After opening the year with two straight losses to the Senators, the Leafs bounced back with victories over the Buffalo Sabres and the aforementioned Canadiens.
They have another two games against the Habs and then two against the Red Wings, then that’s it for the pre-season.
The Leafs open the season a week from Wednesday against, who else, the Montreal Canadiens.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Injuries, Rumours and News
The Leafs got bad news this week on the injury front when Dylan Gambrell was concussed, and when John Klingberg pulled his groin.
Klingberg is listed as day to day while the injury to Gambrell appears to be more serious. Of course concussions are unpredictable, but he is expected to miss the opening game of the regular season.
This is bad news for a player who may not have made the team anyways.
In last night’s game, the Leafs beat the Canadiens on the strength of goals from Matthew Knies and Mikko Kokkonen.
It wasn’t a very star-studded lineup, but you probably don’t need to dress very many stars to beat the Canadiens this year, let alone with whatever kind of roster they’re dressing in the preseason.
Knies is almost a shoe-in to make the team, especially after posting such strong numbers in the playoffs last year. Not only did he score a sweet short-handed goal last night, but against Buffalo the other night he racked up a pair of assists.
Kokkonen probably won’t make it, but is likely to make his NHL debut at some point this year.
The most interesting story at Leafs Camp remains Easton Cowan, who isn’t likely to get the Leafs to burn a year of his ECL contract, but is still putting up a fight to make their decision to send him back down as hard as possible.
It’s still an extreme longshot that he makes it as an NHL player this year, but keep in mind that the Leafs do need to get under the cap by about $2.2 million over the next ten days, and having a guy on an entry-level deal would be extremely appealing.
Rumours continue to persist that Calle Jarnkrok will be the one to go in order to make cap room, but another possibility is that Conor Timmons makes the team and makes TJ Brodie expendable.
Brodie is one playoffs removed from posting star-like numbers and would seem like a weird player to move, but he’s 33 and there aren’t a lot of options – Giordano and Liljegren don’t create any room if you swap them out for Timmons. Rielly is going nowhere and McCabe is on such a sweetheart deal he’s basically untouchable. Klingberg isn’t going to be cut before he even plays a game, and so, by the process of elimination you get to Brodie.
Dump him for Timmons and you save almost $4 million which would let the Leafs keep Jarnkrok and Lafferty, as well as dress a full roster.