The Maple Leafs hit the ice Sunday on the first day of training camp with 31 players in camp but just 23 who can make the opening night roster in Montreal next Saturday.
Prior to the start of training camp, the Leafs announced that Keith Aucoin, Ben Scrivens, Matt Frattin, Nazem Kadri, Morgan Rielly, Mark Fraser, Leo Komarov, Ryan Hamilton, Jake Gardiner, Mike Kostka and Korbinian Holzer were added from the Toronto Marlies or junior in Rielly’s case.
The Leafs will also be signing restricted free-agent defenceman Cody Franson and free agent defenceman Mike Mottau in the next few days. Mottau did take part in the first day of camp while Franson was one route from Sweden where he played during the work stoppage.
Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis said that those deals are not yet official but should be in the next few days.
One area of the team that Nonis is very comfortable with is the depth on defence.
“We have some players who can play in this league,” Nonis said. (Korbinian) “Holzer, we think can be a 6, 7. Mark Fraser who doesn’t get things done that pretty, that is a very competitive hockey player which is something that has been lacking. He’s going to get an opportunity.”
Nonis continued to asses the blueline: “When Jake (Gardiner) comes back, Morgan Rielly will get a chance, he’s strong enough and he’s a good enough player that can have some impact on us. With the two guys we hope to sign (Franson and Mottau) our depth is pretty good.”.
Before the first practice at MCC Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf spoke with the media and it was quite evident that he is eager for the season to get going.
“”It’s exciting, we missed being around the room, we missed the games. It’s a great day for hockey.”
Phaneuf spoke about the fans and what it will mean to play in front of Leafs Nation once again
“We missed the fans, we missed playing in front of them, we have great fans here and it was difficult as players to not play in front of them.”
When the Leafs did hit the ice here is what the forward combos looked like. Remember it’s the first day of camp:
James van Riemsdyk-Tim Connolly-Joffrey Lupul
Phil Kessel-Tyler Bozak-Matthew Lombardi
Clarke MacArthur-Mikhail Grabovski-Nikolai Kulemin
Matt Frattin-Nazem Kadri-Leo Komarov
Mike Brown-Jay McClement
Colton Orr-David Steckel
Check out the video from some of the players who spoke on Sunday