Toronto Maple Leafs: Previewing the 2019 Training Camp

The Toronto Maple Leafs tweaked their roster in a big way during the offseason. Toronto has been bounced in the first round of the playoffs for the past three years. They have been bounced by the Boston Bruins in back-to-back years in seven games and the Maple Leafs were bounced in 2016-2017 by the Washington Capitals in six games.

This could potentially be a big year for Head Coach Mike Babcock. I have a gut feeling general manager Kyle Dubas is going to have him on a short leash. If Toronto gets off to slow start, I would not come as surprise to see Dubas pull the trigger and fire Babock.

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The most likely candidate to replace him would be Toronto Marlies (AHL) coach Sheldon Keefe. The Marlies won the Calder Cup in 2018 and they were close to winning it again in 2019.

Keefe has been in Toronto’s system as the head coach of the AHL team since the 2015-2016 season.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have the talent to win the Stanley Cup title this season. They have not won it all since 2007. Toronto has not won a playoff series since the 2003-2004 season.

Mitchell Marner is still a restricted free agent and is looking for $10-$11 million per season. Marner is only 22 years old and he and the Maple Leafs are hoping he has a contract signed by training camp.

He played in 82 games last season and Mitchell Marner scored 26 goals and recorded 68 assists. His plus/minus was 22.

They had a similar issue with William Nylander last season. Nylander wasn’t signed by the start of the season and he didn’t start playing until December 6, 2018, at home against the Detroit Red Wings.

William Nylander had a disappointing season last season and he hopes to have a bounce-back year. Nylander played in 54 games and he scored seven goals and recorded 20 assists. His plus/minus was -4.

The projected lines for this season will be Zach HymanJohn TavaresMitch Marner, Andreas JohnssonAuston Matthews-William Nylander, Trevor MooreAlexander KerfootKasperi Kapanen, and Nic PetanJason SpezzaNick Shore.

The projected defensive pairings will be Morgan Rielly and Tyson Barrie, Jake Muzzin and Cody Ceci, and Travis Dermott and Timothy Liljegren.

Frederik Andersen will be the starting goalie. Michael Hutchinson and 21-year-old Joseph Woll will battle for the backup goalie.

John Tavares signed as a free agent last summer for seven years. He is from Mississauga, Ontario. Tavares played well in his first year last year with the team.

Auston Matthews is one of the best goal scorers in the game.

Nikita Zaitsev and Ron Hainsey are not on the team anymore on defense. Patrick Marleau was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes and then he was bought out by them. The Nazem Kadri and Tyson Barrie swap were absolutely necessary for both Toronto and the Colorado Avalanche.

Some of the key players that could step up in case of injury for the Maple Leafs will be Pontus Aberg, Garrett Wilson, Kenny Agostino, Jake Muzzin, Justin Holl, Jordan Schmaltz, and Martin Marincin.

The Maple Leafs have yet to announce a training camp date. Toronto will begin preseason play on Tuesday, September 17 against the Ottawa Senators in St. Johns, NFLD, at the Mile One Centre. The Toronto Maple Leafs will also begin the regular season at home against Ottawa on Wednesday, October 2.

How do you feel about the 2019 Toronto Maple Leafs? Leave a comment below.

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Follow Glenn on Twitter @glennkaplan13.

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