The Toronto Maple Leafs have a lot of work to do heading into their training camp for the 2016-17 season. The World Cup of Hockey, while extremely entertaining, is going to slightly complicate some matters. Many Maple Leafs won’t make an appearance at camp simply because they have an obligation to their respective teams.
Chief among those will be Morgan Rielly and Auston Matthews, both of whom are representing Team North America. Other names include Leo Komarov, James van Riemsdyk and Roman Polak. We’ll break down exactly why it’s going to be an interesting training camp for the boys in Blue and White.
Jhonas Enroth Joins Team Sweden as Backup
After trading for Frederik Andersen, the Maple Leafs were in search of a veteran backup goaltender. It took them most of the summer, but they finally settled on talented Swede, Jhonas Enroth. There had been rumours swirling all summer long that the Maple Leafs and Enroth would settle on a deal, but until recently nothing concrete had been confirmed.
Enroth, who is 28, signed a one-year deal worth $750,000, which is tremendous bang for your buck if you’re the Leafs. The veteran Swedish netminder started his career in Sweden before moving to the AHL. He cracked into the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres and has subsequently made stops with the Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings. In his years of playing, the former 2006 second rounder has appeared in 118 NHL games.
He was also recently named to the Swedish squad for the World Cup of Hockey. He will be replacing the injured Robin Lehner.
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) August 26, 2016
With the Kings last season, he was stellar, posting a record of 7-5-1 with a .922 save percentage in 16 games as the backup to Jonathan Quick.
It will be the first time in many seasons that the Maple Leafs have a number one and backup goalie. There is no question that Andersen is the clear cut starter and that Enroth will be lower on the depth chart. It’s a dynamic that the Maple Leafs haven’t had in a long time. Only time will tell how successful the newest pairing will turn out.
Maple Leafs Inviting Players on PTO’s
Every year there are veteran players in the NHL that for one reason or another do not get offered a new contract. In many cases, teams will offer them a PTO, or professional tryout. It’s a no harm, no foul situation for most teams, as they get to see how a player will perform with a new organization in the preseason.
If the team isn’t satisfied with what they see, they can cut the player loose without any hassle. It’s a low-risk, high-reward type situation. Last season, the Maple Leafs brought in Brad Boyes, Curtis Glencross and Devin Setoguchi on PTO’s. Only Boyes was offered a contract after the preseason was all said and done.
Brandon Prust loved the Maple Leafs growing up. I wish him well on making the club.
— NormanJamesCTV (@NormanJamesCTV) August 22, 2016
This time around, the Leafs have brought in another three players. The most well known is Brandon Prust, a gritty forward. He’ll be joined by young defenseman Roman Hrabarenka and veteran KHL goalie, Jeff Glass. It gives the Leafs some players to work with in the preseason when the team will be a bit short due to the World Cup selections.
Prust has made stops with Montreal, New York and most recently Vancouver. Hrabarenka spent the 2015-16 season with the AHL’s Albany Devils, registering five goals and nine points on the season. Glass last suited up for Dinamo Minsk, where he played 31 games and put up a 2.77 GAA and a .910 save percentage.
These contracts will allow the Buds to see if any of these skaters have anything left to give. A player like Brandon Prust may fit into the Leafs next year as they are looking to add some sandpaper and leadership to change their identity and protect the younger incoming players.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s a low-risk, high-reward scenario. For an NHL team in the middle of a rebuild, having options is definitely a bonus.