Toronto Maple Leafs hockey is finally back. The regular season is still a few weeks away but for hockey-starved fans, the Blue and White will be suiting up for their first exhibition game against the Ottawa Senators.
There’s always interesting tidbits of news when it comes to the Leafs. We’re going to jump right into the action and talk about Joffrey Lupul and his comments, some training camp cuts and of course, the beginning of the preseason.
Once upon a time, Joffrey Lupul was a productive Maple Leaf. He was talented and well liked within the organization. His only downfall was that he couldn’t manage to remain healthy for a full season. Lupul hasn’t played a game since February 6, 2016 and has been on long-term injured reserve so the Leafs can get some cap relief.
At the start of training camp, Lupul came in and took his physical, as all players do. Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello then released a statement saying that Lupul had failed his test. Lupul shot back on Instagram, essentially saying that the Leafs are cheating and everyone lets them get away with it.
The Leafs have declined to comment on the now deleted post. Lupul does have another option if he chooses to pursue it. He’s within his rights with the Collective Bargaining Agreement to get a second medical opinion with the help of the NHLPA.
Lupul’s contract with the Leafs will expire after this season is concluded. It’s a situation that has many layers and fans may never get a full answer of what happens behind closed doors.
Training Camp Cuts
The Leafs made some recent training camp cuts. 24 players were left go on Sunday with 49 still remaining on the roster. Seven players have been sent back to their CHL teams including 2017 draft picks Fedor Gordeev, Ryan McGregor, Eemeli Rasanen and Ian Scott.
There were also some notable names sent down to play for the Toronto Marlies this year. Those include Vladimir Bobylev, Jeremy Bracco, Adam Brooks, Martins Dzierkals and Nikita Korostelev.
Those that stick, like Bracco or Brooks, will gain valuable experience and will be among the next wave of prospects to make their NHL debuts in the future.
Maple Leafs fans need to wait no longer for their team to officially return to the ice. Preseason action is back and the Leafs have eight games on their upcoming schedule. Four of the eight will be at home and it begins the 19th against the Ottawa Senators. The Leafs will then meet the Sabres on the 22nd, the Canadiens on the 25th and the Red Wings on the 30th.
The lineup for the opener tonight looks extremely promising. Auston Matthews, Zach Hyman and William Nylander will be taking the ice. The speedy Kasperi Kapanen and newly signed Dominic Moore will also make their preseason debuts.
Leafs lines for tonight's game
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) September 18, 2017
On the defensive side, there are a number of interesting pairings to keep an eye on. Morgan Rielly will play alongside Ron Hainsey, who was signed this summer after winning the Stanley Cup. Connor Carrick will be playing with Calle Rosen, the talented Swede.
Maybe the most interesting pairing will feature Travis Dermott and Timothy Liljegren, the most recent Leafs first-round pick. Dermott and Rosen are both competing for a spot on opening night and Liljegren is the future of the blueline. All three are worth keeping an eye on to see how they perform. Hockey is finally back!