Leafs trying to trade Ashton as lineup takes shape

The Leafs are still in Collingwood for some paintball and other team-bonding activities, but they hit the ice for practice this morning in preparation for the Red Wings tomorrow evening. It will be the final trial run for the Leafs before the regular season opens up next Wednesday, and we should see nearly-complete lineups, as the coaching staffs attempt to get everyone in tune ahead of the real show.

One player who might not be part of the plan is Carter Ashton. As Elliott Friedman confirmed in his 30 Thoughts earlier this week, the Leafs are shopping the forward in an effort to avoid losing him for nothing:

Like Vancouver with Markstrom, Toronto has asked around about Carter Ashton, trying to see if they can get a pick instead of going though the waiver route.

Ashton being the odd man out sparked some panic as we thought he’d be lost in favour of a fourth line of punchers, but the lines are shaping up better than expected.

The assumption, of course, is that Nylander goes to the AHL or back to Sweden, but he might get his nine regular season games. Booth and Clarkson will likely return from injury to take spots from Nylander and Leivo. Either way, this looks like a solid lineup with actual hockey players, which is tough to complain about.

Another player missing from this list is Matt Frattin. He likely sticks around as an extra forward to start the year. 

On the blue line, the extent of Franson’s injury is still a question mark, but Robidas will make his debut tomorrow and start the season on time.

Overall this lineup looks about as balanced as it can get for the Leafs. We’ll see how long it lasts.