The Toronto Maple Leafs face the Vancouver Canucks in Toronto tonight. This week during practice, a number of changes have been made to the team’s roster. In this edition of Maple Leafs Game-Day News, I’ll try to keep fans up-to-date with those changes are.
Game Move #1: Wayne Simmonds Will Move to the Maple Leafs’ Second Line
It looks as if NHL veteran Wayne Simmonds will be moving to the team’s second line for the game against the Vancouver Canucks tonight. During practice this week, Simmonds had worked out on the second line with winger William Nylander and center John Tavares.
As head coach Sheldon Keefe suggested: “On the road trip, he (Simmonds) was a real standout for us…He’s got lots of jump. He looks quick and he’s on the puck. He’s competitive. He’s around the net. He found a way to score in three straight games for us, which has given him a little extra confidence and a little extra boost.”
Game Move #2: Rasmus Sandin Injured at Practice and Won’t Play
Too bad about the injury, but that probably doesn’t change Rasmus Sandin’s frustrating status for the season. He hasn’t played and probably won’t for a while.
During practice yesterday, Pierre Engvall accidentally hit Sandin in the face with a puck. We don’t know the extent of that injury, but it can’t help Sandin’s status of finding a lineup spot. So far, Sandin has had a tough season.
Game Move #3: Joey Anderson Has Been Sent to the AHL
Joey Anderson was assigned to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies this week. There’s a good chance the AHL is Anderson’s 2020-21 season destination. The 22-year-old Anderson should have a large role with the Marlies when the AHL season starts.
Game Move #4: Ilya Mikheyev Moves Down to Third Line
It isn’t as if Ilya Mikheyev has played poorly this season: he just can’t seem to score. With only two assists on the season, he’s not playing to expectations. That has to be a reason he was moved to the team’s third line this week.
Mikheyev still adds value as a member of the penalty kill. However, he’s not showing up on the score sheet so far, and he hasn’t scored in his first 10 games of the season. He’s the only Maple Leafs forward who’s played every game without scoring a goal.
Game Move #5: Lehtonen Moved to Bottom Four Pairing
Maple Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe must believe Mikko Lehtonen needs more time to adjust to the NHL game. Travis Dermott will replace him for tonight’s game.
Game Move #6: Alex Kerfoot’s Injury Better, He’ll Play Tonight
Alex Kerfoot didn’t practice Tuesday, but he’ll be available for tonight’s game with the Canucks. Kerfoot was listed as day-to-day, and today he’s in the lineup. He’ll return to his usual spot as the third-line center.
Game Move #7: Nic Petan Added to Maple Leafs’ Fourth Line
Nic Petan hasn’t played this season, but he’ll get his chance tonight against the Canucks. The 25-year-old forward scored three assists in 16 games with the Maple Leafs last season.
Petan has an upside to his game that he showed last season with the Marlies. He’ll play with Travis Boyd and Jason Spezza, who have had great starts to the 2020-21 season.
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