Four of the defensemen that will certainly start with the team are Morgan Rielly, Jake McCabe, Timothy Liljegren and TJ Brodie, unless someone is traded.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are flirting dangerously with the salary cap and a trade of TJ Brodie could solve all the concerns. The Toronto native has one year left with a $5 Million cap hit ($7M owing) and if they could get out from under the deal, the team can easily carry spares this year.
Barring an injury, John Klingberg will start the season with the Leafs, however he did not look good in his one full game he played and is not dressing Thursday night.
When Klingberg falters, Treliving needs maneuver around his ten team no trade list and move on from him. Klingberg could be appetizing to another team as he carries a $4.15 Million cap hit, however has just $2.15 Million paid out for the season. If a trade can’t happen, waivers could be an option where he would likely be claimed.
With the five spots taken, the Leafs have Conor Timmins (who is likely to start the season on LTIR), Mark Giordano, Sam Benoit, Mikko Kokkonen and William Lagesson battling for the last two spots.
Of those players, the two that have the inside track (Giordano and Benoit) are both dressing in Thursday nights game. Giordano carries a team friendly cap hit of just $800,000, however he may not have the skill to play at an NHL level. He may be used as a seventh defenseman to stay with the team, but put on waivers to clear the cap space.
Benoit may be the beneficiary of Timmins injury and Giordano’s decline to make the team.
Kokkonen and Legesson have got long looks with the team, however will likely find themselves on the Marlies to start the season.