LGD: Split Squads Vs. Ottawa

We’ve reached the next key date in our patient march towards the start of the season. The Leafs first preseason games are tonight, split team matchups against Ottawa. Generally what that means is that Toronto fans will be treated to their most exciting lineup in Toronto and Ottawa will be treated to their more interesting lineup in Kanata. 

For those looking to excited to get their first glimpse of the new look Leafs, the games will be on TSN 4 (Toronto area covering the game in Toronto) and TSN 5 (Ottawa area covering the game in Kanata) both starting at 7:30 PM ET.


The interesting things that immediately stand out:

  • That Grabner – Nylander – Setoguchi line looks incredibly fun
  • JVR really can’t catch a break and remains tethered to Bozak
  • I’m really excited to see Gardiner- Rielly be a thing this season
  • Marincin and Polak could be a really solid 3rd pairing this season if that sticks


Notes on the Leafs lineup in Ottawa:

  • Hunwick with Phaneuf is something that immediately sticks out. Generally you try to keep defensive pairings together throughout training camp, and this likely means Hunwick has the inside track to join Rielly, Gardiner, and Phaneuf in the top four
  • Boyes playing with Holland is nice to see, as it’s a sign he’ll have a decent offensive option this year and get a chance to prove himself as top six center. 
  • Matthias-Kadri-Lupul is a line I can get behind and hope to see more of.
  • Harrington and Robidas is interesting and Harrington seems to be in the best position to grab the seventh D spot on the roster. Though obviously it’s incredibly early.


In Ottawa…

No line combinations, but not surprisingly the group playing in Ottawa is a little more stacked than the lineup in Toronto. The group includes Erik Karlsson, Bobby Ryan, Craig Anderson, Kyle Turris, Clarke MacArthur and hilariously, Mike Kostka.

In Toronto…

Andrew Hammond will begin his rapid decline in Toronto tonight, and he’ll be joined by Mike Hoffman, Mika Zibenejad, and Zach Stortini in a lineup designed to give everyone in attendance a chance to see the Leafs win tonight.

What to Watch For…

It’s the preseason, you’re basically watching because you’re so starved for hockey you’ll watch anything resembling hockey unless you’re a baseball or football fan, in which case, enjoy meaningful sports games tonight. For the rest of us…

  • It’s our first chance to see who is this season’s Brandon Kozun
  • The forward lines are probably going to change a dozen times between now and opening night, but the defensive pairings might stick. It will be interesting to see who works well together.
  • The PTO dudes. These guys have a lot on the line and it will be interesting to see how they do in games that actually matter to them.
The point was made on twitter this morning by Leafer1984 about how unfortunate it is that the start time is the same for both games as it sure would be great to take in two games tonight. It also seems odd from a team perspective, as it seems odd that the decision makers in both organizations wouldn’t want to watch whatever game they weren’t attending. Seems odd, but hopefully you choose wisely in which game you end up watching.