The NHL season is nearly upon us. It’s been a long wait, but fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs have only to wait one more day. The preseason was in full swing and now that it is finished, it’s time for the Leafs to make their final roster cuts.
It appears that both Swedish defenseman, Calle Rosen, and Andreas Borgman, will be staying with the club. Both were signed out of the SHL this past May.
The bigger cuts took place Monday when the Leafs sent a truckload of players to their AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. They included talented forwards like Adam Brooks and Jeremy Bracco as well as goaltender, Garret Sparks. There were also three players cut that should see some time with the big club this season.
Travis Dermott, Defenseman
Many thought that this would be Dermott’s first real chance to make the Leafs out of camp. The steady defenseman is a young up and coming talent that spent last year leading the Marlies’ blueline.
He’s positionally sound, a vocal leader and isn’t afraid to throw his body around once in a while. Many predicted that the former Erie Otter would make the Leafs this coming season. The two aforementioned Swedish defenders, Rosen and Borgman, seem to have thrown a wrench into those plans.
There was just too much competition for a few spots and for the moment, Dermott is being sent back to the AHL. That doesn’t reflect poorly on Dermott whatsoever, however, since anything can happen in a season.
Injuries happen every season to NHL teams and players. If there happens to be any on the blueline, expect to see Dermott get the call to make his NHL debut. He’s a talented defender who will only benefit from a little more AHL seasoning and should see some NHL action sometime this year.
Kasperi Kapanen, Forward
The speedy Finn turned out to the another victim of the numbers game. For the first time in a long while, the Leafs are a team with young talent and a deep roster of prospects.
Kapanen played well in limited action last year and was also a playoff overtime hero when he scored a pair of goals against the Washington Capitals, the biggest of the two being a double overtime winner.
Lou Lamoriello on his message to Kasperi Kapanen and Nikita Soshnikov as they head back to the minors today pic.twitter.com/KKIiXDxGtw
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) October 2, 2017
Kapanen faced a tough task this training camp in an attempt to crack the roster. The Leafs have a glut of talent and there was simply no room for Kapanen. The Leafs made the smart decision to send him to the Marlies, at least to start the season.
Kapanen will be a leader on the squad and should be able to play big minutes. It’s a better option than making the Leafs and sitting in the pressbox gathering rust. Kapanen will be one of the first Marlies to get the call-up to the big club, whether he forces his way onto the squad or the opportunity comes up through injury or trade.
Miro Aaltonen, Forward
Miro Aaltonen was a talented and speedy forward who was signed from the KHL this past year. The gritty Finn had a solid camp for Toronto, but was another victim of the numbers game.
He’s a talented forward with offensive instincts and speed to burn. Unfortunately, he’s not super defensive minded, which was something the young Finn was working on throughout camp. Mike Babcock, the Leafs head coach, wants a fourth line pivot with a bit more defensive presence and decided to go with Eric Fehr and Dominic Moore.
Aaltonen has now been sent to the Toronto Marlies. He didn’t need to pass through waivers, which makes the process that much easier. He should be one of the first Marlies called up to reinforce the big club at some point during the 2017-18 season.