The Toronto Maple Leafs are going bargain hunting for a blueliner, inviting Henrik Tallinder and Brendan Mikkelson to training camp.
From TSN’s Bob McKenzie:
Defensemen Henrik Tallinder and Brendan Mikkelson will attend TOR’s camp on tryout basis.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) September 11, 2014
Tallinder is a 6’4, 209lb veteran defender that spent last season with the Buffalo Sabres. In 64 games, the 35-year old scored two goals and eight points. As you might have guessed, there isn’t much offense to Tallinder’s game, and his advanced analytics suggest he isn’t much of a defender anymore either. Still, if he performs well in camp and comes cheap, Tallinder would be a fine seventh defender.
As an older guy, you’d assume that Tallinder would have some great stories to share in the press box, too.
As for Mikkelson, 27, this won’t be his first stint in the blue and white. Back in the 2009-10 season, Mikkelson suited up for 49 games with the Toronto Marlies, and has since split time between the NHL, AHL and HockeyAllsvenskan (Sweden’s Tier Two Men’s League).
Last year, with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Mikkelson scored eight goals and 38 points in 73 games. Mikkelson is a fine AHL defender, and is likely competing directly with Tallinder for that seventh defenceman opening.
Considering how much young talent the Marlies have on the blueline, this might be a situation where one gets an NHL contract to ride the pine, and the other is simply cut loose. And if signing one of Tallinder or Mikkelson means someone like Petter Granberg doesn’t sit in the press box for 40 games next season, and gets actual development time in the AHL, it wouldn’t be the worst idea imaginable.
Heck, if either of Tallinder or Mikkelson turn out to be half as effective as last year’s PTO invite, Mason Raymond, it might be a great idea.