Preview: Leafs, Flames Showcases NHL’s Young Talent

It’s not a matchup we’re used to seeing, but Monday night will mark the end of the season series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Calgary Flames. The Flames will be in Toronto to take on their fellow Canadian-based franchise.

Calgary is coming off a shelling at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers in which Chad Johnson was pulled in the first half of the first period after giving up three goals on just four shots. The Leafs will also look to get back in the win column after a loss to the Ottawa Senators in a shootout.

Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames, Fantasy Hockey
Matthew Tkachuk is already making his presence felt in Calgary – sitting third in team scoring. (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

After the Leafs’ rookies were held off the score sheet against Ottawa, they’ll look to make an impact again against the Flames. On the other side, Matthew Tkachuk will look to impress former teammates in Mitch Marner (with the London Knights) and Auston Matthews (with the U.S. Development Program). He’s having a good year in Calgary with 30 points (9g-21a) in 45 games for the Flames – only eight points behind Matthews for the league lead among rookies.

Tyler Bozak will once again be looking to climb his way up the list of franchise leaders in games played and goals as he chases down some more former greats to wear the Maple Leaf – including Lanny McDonald and Dave Andreychuk.

Either way, it will be a fun game with all the youth involved on both sides of the puck. Between Marner, Matthews, Tkachuk along with guys like Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, this game will showcase some of the best young talent in the NHL today.

Calgary Flames at Toronto Maple Leafs

Air Canada Centre – 7:30 p.m. EST

Broadcast channels – TSN4 and SNW

2016-17 Season Series:
November 30 – Flames 3 – Maple Leafs 0

Calgary Flames – 24-22-3 – 51 Points

Road Record: 11-9-3

Hot Players: Sean Monahan, Dougie Hamilton and Matthew Tkachuk

Key Injuries: Garnet Hathaway and Ladislav Smid

Projected Lines:


Matthew Tkachuk-Mikael Backlund-Michael Frolik

Johnny Gaudreau-Sam Bennett-Alex Chiasson

Kris Versteeg-Sean Monahan-Troy Brouwer

Lance Bouma-Matt Stajan-Micheal Ferland


Mark Giordano-Dougie Hamilton

T.J. Brodie-Dennis Wideman

Jyrki Jokipakka-Deryk Engelland


Chad Johnson (expected)

Toronto Maple Leafs – 21-14-9 – 51 Points

Home Record: 11-8-3

Hot Players: Tyler Bozak, Nazem Kadri and James van Riemsdyk

Key Injuries: Morgan Rielly, Ben Smith and Joffrey Lupul

Projected Lines:


James van Riemsdyk-Tyler Bozak-Mitch Marner

Leo Komarov-Nazem Kadri-William Nylander

Zach Hyman-Auston Matthews-Connor Brown

Matt Martin-Frederik Gauthier-Nikita Soshnikov


Jake Gardiner-Connor Carrick

Martin Marincin-Nikita Zaitsev

Matt Hunwick-Roman Polak


Frederik Andersen

Game Notes

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]Matt Stajan played his first six and a half seasons in the NHL with the Maple Leafs. Over that span he notched 223 points (87g-136a) in 445 games with the Leafs. After being traded to the Flames as part of the Dion Phaneuf trade, Stajan has spent the last seven and half seasons in Calgary. Over that span he’s recorded 171 points (53g-118a) in 458 games. Since joining the Flames, he’s had six points in 11 games against the Leafs – not bad against your former club.

Tyler Bozak, NHL, Toronto Maple Leafs
Tyler Bozak will look to continue his climb on the Leafs’ all-time lists in games played and goals. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]Monday’s game will be the 477th for Tyler Bozak in a Leafs uniform. It will tie him with former Leafs Alexei Ponikarovsky and Lanny McDonald for 41st on the team’s all-time list. He also needs just one goal to tie Dave Andreychuk (120) for 35th on the franchise’s all-time list.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap]On the other side of the puck, it’s been an up and down type of year for the Flames’ top players. But with two more goals, Sean Monahan can tie Craig Conroy (97) for 20th on the team’s all-time list.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]The Leafs and Flames have only met 131 times in regular season play. The Flames have the edge in the all-time series with a 62-56-12-1 record – out scoring the Leafs by 40 goals over that span.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap]No rookie managed a point in the Leafs last game – a rarity this season. In fact, Matthews has gone two consecutive games without a point. It’s the first time since November (15 and 17) that he’s gone back-to-back games without a point.

While the Leafs and Flames don’t meet often, there is a familiarity now with the young players. Both clubs are in similar spots in the midst of full rebuilds and this should be an entertaining display of skill and how impressive the NHL’s 2016-17 rookie class really is.