Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Galchenyuk, Nylander, Gabriel & Kase

In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs News & Rumors, I’ll share this season’s landing place for former Maple Leafs’ player Alex Galchenyuk. I’ll share a prediction that William Nylander will play on Team Sweden’s top line during the 2022 Olympic Games.

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Third, I’ll report what everyone knows about Auston Matthews’ placement on the NHL’s injured reserve, but note that (surprisingly) Ondrej Kase was not placed on that list. Finally, I’ll look at an odd statistic about newcomer Kurtis Gabriel and his place on the NHL’s list of players with the most penalty minutes.

Item One: Alex Galchenyuk Signs PTO with Arizona Coyotes

Alex Galchenyuk might have assessed the situation incorrectly. Shortly after the Maple Leafs’ season ended, general manager Kyle Dubas said he was interested in re-signing Galchenyuk. That never happened.

Alex Galchenyuk
Alex Galchenyuk is back with the Arizona Coyotes

Then, earlier this week, it was reported that Galchenyuk had agreed to a PTO with the Arizona Coyotes. This is not his first go-round with the Coyotes. He played there during the 2018-19 season and scored 41 points. Two things: first, Galchenyuk’s probably hoping his return to Arizona bodes well for his game; second, the Coyotes know that, if he shows well in camp, they can probably sign him cheaply. Given that team’s difficult financial issues, that might be attractive. 

Last season, Galchenyuk scored five goals and eight assists (for 13 points) in 34 games playing with the Ottawa Senators as well as the Maple Leafs. I wish him well and hope he has a good season.

Item Two: William Nylander First-Liner for Team Sweden’s Olympic Team

The Hockey News today predicted Team Sweden’s 2022 Olympic team, and William Nylander was the only Maple Leafs’ player predicted to be in the starting lineup. He’s projected to be on Team Sweden’s first line as the right-winger. His line-mates are projected to be Gabriel Landeskog (at left-wing) and Elias Pettersson (at center). 

Toronto Maple Leafs William Nylander
Toronto Maple Leafs William Nylander (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

Team Sweden’s interesting because originally Nylander was left off a list the names of players invited to a preliminary camp in Stockholm to choose the team for the 2022 Olympics. There were 27 players invited, but Nylander wasn’t one of those. No other Maple Leafs’ player was mentioned in the article, although another invitee might be defenseman Rasmus Sandin. Sandin’s done well on the international stage, although at the junior level. Still, he’s a player who might get the call.

Item Three: Auston Matthews On and Ondrej Kase Off Injured Reserve

As both expected and announced, Auston Matthews was officially listed on injured reserve for the beginning of the Maple Leafs’ training camp. However, as reported in an earlier post, general manager Dubas told reporters that his star center is still expected to be ready for the first game of the season on October 13. Matthews underwent wrist surgery in mid-August.

Auston Matthews Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

On the other side, I was surprised that Ondrej Kase was NOT listed on the injured reserve. That must mean that he’s deemed healthy enough to take part in training camp. If so, this could be good news for Maple Leafs’ fans. He’s a player.

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Item Four: William Nylander Isn’t Fully Vaccinated Yet

Speaking of Nylander, it was odd that’s Mike Zeisberger tweeted two days ago a report that Nylander met with media wearing a mask because he wasn’t yet fully vaccinated. However, it was reported that he would soon be vaccinated.

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Apparently, Nylander had a number of medical issues he needed to have addressed prior to his vaccination. However, these weren’t specified; and, that makes sense not to delve into a player’s medical history. Still, I found it a bit odd. 

Item Five: Kurtis Gabriel in NHL’s Top 20 of Penalty Minutes

It will be interesting to see what the Maple Leafs have in Kurtis Gabriel. In looking at a list of those players who racked up a ton of penalty minutes, there at #16 was Gabriel with 55 penalty minutes incurred. 

That wouldn’t be too surprising, except that he got those minutes in playing only 11 games. Everyone else around him had in the 40s or 50s for games played. In addition, he was the only player on the entire list of 50 or so players who hadn’t registered a single goal or an assist.

He’s going to be fun to watch. I guess we know what to expect.

What’s Next for the Maple Leafs?

The word is that this season’s training camp will be a bit more combative as far as jobs goes. While that’s all well and good, does it mean that these practices will be more chippy and more physical? If that’s the case, is there a greater chance of potential injury?

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Trading Morgan Rielly & Whining About Life

I heard this week that two defensemen – Morgan Rielly and Justin Holl – had to leave the ice at just at a workout because of injuries. As a result, this is an aspect of the camp that I’m watching. Who will survive and be ready for the regular season?

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