Are the Toronto Maple Leafs experiencing the lull before the storm? We don’t think we have ever seen things so quiet with the team for such a long stretch of time. That’s especially true with this management team. It’s been over a month since anything significant has happened.
Item One: Goalie Dylan Ferguson Signed a PTO
The only move the team has made recently was to sign goalie Dylan Ferguson to a PTO (Professional Tryout Contract). The 23-year-old from Lantzville, British Columbia, has played a grand total of nine minutes in the NHL. That was for the Las Vegas Golden Knights in a game against the Edmonton Oilers in 2017-18. In that game, he allowed one goal on two shots.
Since being picked 194th overall in the seventh round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars and graduating from the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL in 2018, Ferguson has played a total of 27 games in the ECHL and 16 games in the AHL. That’s not much experience.
After being drafted by the Stars, Ferguson’s career with Dallas lasted a mere two days. He was quickly traded to the Golden Knights along with a second-round pick for defenseman Marc Methot.
While we don’t expect the signing of Ferguson to the PTO will actually amount to much, it does give the Maple Leafs more depth heading into training camp.
Item Two: Training Camp Is Opening Soon
Speaking of training camp, according to the NHL the Maple Leafs’ camp opens on September 11th with physicals. The next day on September 12th, the team would have its first on-ice session. Many Maple Leafs’ fans are counting. That’s less than a month away.
Item Three: The Traverse City Prospect Tournament Starts in Just Over a Month
The Maple Leafs’ prospects will play three games in the Traverse City Prospect Tournament. The prospects meet the St. Louis Blues’ prospects on September 16, followed by a game against the Columbus Blue Jacket prospects on September 18 and the Detroit Red Wings prospects on September 19.
It appears that three of the Maple Leafs’ top prospects will not be taking part in the Traverse City Tournament. Matthews Knies will be returning to the University of Minnesota for one more season. The Leafs Nation website is reporting that Topi Niemela and Roni Hirvonen won’t be participating also.
Item Three: Maple Leafs Preseason Schedule Released
The Maple Leafs released their preseason schedule recently. Here are the dates and times for those games.
On Saturday, September 24, at 2 pm ET and 7 pm ET, the team will engage in a split-squad doubleheader against the Ottawa Senators at home in Scotiabank Arena.
On Wednesday, September 28, the team plays at 7 pm ET against the Montréal Canadiens at home in Scotiabank Arena.
On Friday, September 30, the team takes on the Senators again at 7 pm ET in Belleville, Ontario.
On Monday, October 3, the team plays the Canadiens at 7 pm ET in Montréal at the Bell Centre.
On Friday, October 7, at 7:30 pm ET, the team plays the Detroit Red Wings in Detroit at Little Caesars Arena.
Finally, on Saturday, October 8, at 7 pm ET, the Red Wings come to Toronto to play the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena.
What’s Next for the Maple Leafs?
The World Junior Tournament is in session in Edmonton. If Maple Leafs’ fans want to catch the three prospects (Knies, Niemela, and Hirvonen) in action, they’re all taking part in the World Juniors currently being held right now in Edmonton. Hirvonen has had a great start in the tournament with a goal and three assists in two games. Defenseman Niemela has one assist, but Knies is pointless in two games to this point.
The World Juniors continue this week, ending with the final game on August 20th.
[Note: I want to thank long-time Maple Leafs’ fan Stan Smith for collaborating with me on this post. Stan’s Facebook profile can be found here.]
The Old Prof (Jim Parsons, Sr.) taught for more than 40 years in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. He’s a Canadian boy, who has two degrees from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate from the University of Texas. He is now retired on Vancouver Island, where he lives with his family. His hobbies include playing with his hockey cards and simply being a sports fan – hockey, the Toronto Raptors, and CFL football (thinks Ricky Ray personifies how a professional athlete should act).
If you wonder why he doesn’t use his real name, it’s because his son – who’s also Jim Parsons – wrote for The Hockey Writers first and asked Jim Sr. to use another name so readers wouldn’t confuse their work.
Because Jim Sr. had worked in China, he adopted the Mandarin word for teacher (老師). The first character lǎo (老) means “old,” and the second character shī (師) means “teacher.” The literal translation of lǎoshī is “old teacher.” That became his pen name. Today, other than writing for The Hockey Writers, he teaches graduate students research design at several Canadian universities.
He looks forward to sharing his insights about the Toronto Maple Leafs and about how sports engages life more fully. His Twitter address is https://twitter.com/TheOldProf