As the Toronto Maple Leafs open the season against the team they lost to during the first round of the playoffs last season, the team will be without its star center Auston Matthews. Matthews is expected to miss the first three regular-season games because he isn’t yet recovered from his mid-August wrist surgery.
With Matthews out, the team’s regular second-line center and team captain John Tavares will open the regular season with Nick Ritchie on his left wing and Mitch Marner on his right wing. The Maple Leafs also won’t have right winger Ilya Mikheyev for at least eight weeks. Mikheyev broke his thumb in the team’s final preseason game on Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators and will need surgery.
Because Mikheyev’s out, his place will be taken by the 25-year-old veteran center Michael Amadio, who surprisingly made the Maple Leafs roster instead of Adam Brooks. Brooks ironically was claimed off waivers by the Canadiens on Monday and might see action against his old team. Amadio will center the team’s fourth line with Jason Spezza on the left and Wayne Simmonds on the right.
Maple Leafs’ Players Who Are Gone from Last Season’s Team
A number of last season’s Maple Leafs’ roster have now departed to other teams. Chief among them is former long-time starting goalie Frederik Andersen, who’s gone to the Carolina Hurricanes, and hard-working left winger Zach Hyman, who’s now playing with the Edmonton Oilers.
Related: 2 Maple Leafs Preseason Takeaways (Part 1): Bunting & the Power Play
The Current Maple Leafs Roster (as per CapFriendly)
This is the current roster with cap hits using the Cap Friendly Armchair GM tool.
Changes Maple Leafs’ Fans Should Look For
Other than Tavares moving to become the first-line’s center, Matthews’ and Mikheyev’s absence will force other lineup changes. Alex Kerfoot jumps to center the second line, with Michael Bunting on the left wing and William Nylander on the right wing. As well, David Kampf centers the third line, which includes Pierre Engvall on the left side and Ondrej Kase on the right.
As a result of the team having to lose only one player instead of two players, that means that Timothy Liljegren will be the team’s extra defenseman. We’ll see how head coach Sheldon Keefe deploys his lineup, but these look to be the line combinations heading into the first game of the season.
Related: Maple Leafs’ Pierre Engvall’s Get’s His Big Chance: Can He Deliver?
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