The World Cup of Hockey is dominating the talk in and around the NHL. Many players have had to drop out and be replaced due to injuries, which has caused some teams to dig deep for replacements. Practices are also officially underway as of Monday.
It’s an exciting time for hockey fans all across the world. They will be able to enjoy some of the best hockey in the world, not to mention some classic music brought to you by The Killers and Green Day. The Toronto Maple Leafs will have a handful of players representing the Blue and White, from young guns Morgan Rielly and Auston Matthews, to rugged defenseman, Roman Polak.
Let’s dive right in to the latest Maple Leafs News:
Frederik Andersen Out for World Cup
The Maple Leafs have been looking for a bonafide number one goaltender for some time. Jonathan Bernier was thought to be the answer, but that experiment ultimately failed. Lou Lamoriello instead decided to go a different route and traded for Danish goalie, Frederik Andersen.
Slight disclaimer about the tweet below, Andersen is spelled correctly throughout the article, but not in the tweet.
— Tim Wharnsby (@TimWharnsby) September 5, 2016
Andersen was expected to be the starting netminder for Team Europe at the World Cup. Instead, he sustained an injury during an Olympic qualifying game this past week. He collided with a teammate and was subsequently pulled from the game. The Maple Leafs flew him to Toronto where he will be evaluated by their staff.
We’ve already seen some key players lost to injuries. Having Andersen not play may actually be the best case for the Leafs. The reasoning is simple: Lamoriello went out and invested five years and over $25 million dollars for his new goaltender. The injury isn’t believed to be serious, but this is a significant investment and Lamoriello doesn’t plan on squandering it.
Auston Matthews Arrives in Montreal
Auston Matthews officially arrived in Montreal in preparation for practices with Team North America. On a team packed with so much talent, it will be interesting to see where Matthews slots in and what his impact is. Matthews is in an interesting position. He will be the only man on the team that has yet to play an NHL game.
Don’t let that fool you, however. He was the most recent first overall pick and played his entire draft year overseas in Switzerland playing against men and lighting up the league. He also represented the Americans at the most recent World Championships and was considered one of the best forwards on the team.
Sounds like Auston Matthews rotating in at right wing on @TeamNA_WCH's 4th line with JT Miller, Sean Couturier and Vincent Trocheck
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) September 5, 2016
Matthews should get a boost from playing against the best in the world so soon. It should serve as a huge boon to his development. Matthews has been told that he may start the tournament on the right wing of the fourth line. He has seen some practice time with the likes of JT Miller, Sean Couturier and Vincent Trocheck.
At the same time, there’s no guarantee where Matthews will play when the tournament officially begins. The lines are hardly set in stone, but it will be interesting to see Matthews’ impact with whomever his linemates end up being. It’s going to be an exciting and fast tournament that can only benefit the young Maple Leaf players who will be taking part.