Leafs Invite Tallinder, Mikkelson to Camp

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:

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.

  • Wes

    I wouldn’t mind Tallinder as the 7th defenseman. He might work well of for the organization as veteran voice and be a good influence with all that young Swedish talent: Granberg, Loov, Nilsson Johnson and Nylander.

    Tallinder won’t be hurt by time on the bench and the press box. He also plays left, so if you got into real injury trouble, Tallinder on the left and Granberg on the right could probably be a credible 3rd shutdown pairing. They might have already played together. I know they have already been on the same teams.

  • Wes

    As someone who just cried that blue line depth was my main concern I’m happy that this news has arrived.

    Tallinder has been in this league a long time and having him in the dressing room and likely taking a turn with Franson or Polak on the 3rd pairing wouldn’t be a bad thing.

  • Wes

    if you look at the number of contracts that are in play- signing one of either of the 2 PTO guys almost guarantees that both Nylander or Gauthier will be immediately destined to go back to their current clubs before camp gets underway. I belive that the LEafs already have 53 in place with room for 4 Slide Rule Entry levels. Signing one of these 2 PTO means that the leafs would prolly have to send all EL SR contracts back. Can’t imagine that is what the Leafs faithful would want.