Tie goes to the veterans as Leafs make final forward cuts
TORONTO – Two days away from their season opener against the Winnipeg Jets, the Toronto Maple Leafs have reduced their training camp roster from 49 to 26 players.
Toronto kept 14 forwards, 10 defenceman and two goaltenders. There were no major surprises among the forward group, with Eric Fehr and Dominic Moore still in contention for the fourth-line centre job, while Josh Leivo projects as an extra winger.
Swedish rookie defenceman Andreas Borgman, Calle Rosen and Timothy Liljegren all remain with the club, but Liljegren is only staying until the Leafs decide if the 18-year-old should return to Rogle BK in Sweden or join the Toronto Marlies.
Roman Polak also remains with the team on a professional tryout; without a contract he can practice with the team but not travel to games.
The Leafs have until 5 p.m. Tuesday to submit their 23-man roster to the league.
Fifteen players were assigned to the Marlies. Miro Aaltonen, Travis Dermott, Frederik Gauthier, Justin Holl, Andreas Johnsson, Kasperi Kapanen, Kasimir Kaskisuo, Tobias Lindberg, Mason Marchment, Trevor Moore Andrew Nielsen, Michael Paliotta, Nikita Soshnikov, Dmytro Timashov and Rinat Valiev will now join the AHL camp.
Aaltonen pushed hard for the fourth-line centre job throughout training camp, but given the rookie's inexperience with the NHL game and the presence of veterans Fehr and Moore, giving him time to grow in the AHL will benefit his game in the long term.
Colin Greening, Vincent LoVerde, Chris Mueller, Kerby Rychel, Ben Smith and Garret Sparks will all be placed on waivers at noon on Monday. Any of the six who clear by noon on Tuesday are projected to be assigned to the Marlies as well.
Winger Carl Grundstrom was also returned to Frolunda HC of the Swedish Hockey League. As a second-round draft choice in 2016, Grundstrom either had to make the Leafs out of camp or return to Sweden. Grundstrom could return in 2017 to play for the Marlies in the Calder Cup playoffs once his season with Frolunda is over.