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No Matthews, but Marner, Tavares in Maple Leafs’ lineup for preseason game in St. John's tonight

Just days after signing a new free-agent deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs, forward Mitch Marner is listed on the roster for tonight’s NHL exhibition game between the Leafs and Ottawa Senators at Mile One Centre in St. John’s. — Postmedia file photo
Just days after signing a new free-agent deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs, forward Mitch Marner is listed on the roster for tonight’s NHL exhibition game between the Leafs and Ottawa Senators at Mile One Centre in St. John’s. — Postmedia file photo

Andersen expected to get start in goal for preseason tilt against Sens at Mile One

Fans won’t get to treat Auston Matthews to an on-ice “Happy Birthday” serenade at Mile One Centre tonight, but while the big centre, who turns 22 today, isn’t going to be in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ lineup for a National Hockey League exhibition game against the Ottawa Senators, the Leafs’ contingent will feature a number of the organization’s biggest stars, including the newly signed Mitch Marner.

Besides Marner, the players listed on Toronto’s roster tonight include centre John Tavares, goaltender Frederik Andersen and defenceman Tyson Barrie, the Leafs’ big off-season trade acquisition.

Defenceman Jake Muzzin, winger Kaspari Kapenen and veteran Jason Spezza are also listed.

This is the first exhibition game of the fall for Toronto and early pre-season lineups are liable to include a goodly number of prospects, fringe players and others who will eventually wind up in the minors. That will be the case with the Leafs’ tonight. Ten of the 24 players listed on the roster didn’t play a single game in the NHL last season.

However, Toronto still can easily meet the rules for preseason lineups as outlined in the league’s collective bargain agreement.

Those guidelines say teams must dress at least eight so-called veterans for exhibition games. Now, a veteran in this case doesn’t necessarily mean someone with an extensive NHL résumé.

Skaters who played 30 big-league games the previous season; a first-round pick from the current year; goaltenders who have dressed in 50 NHL games in their career or played in 30 NHL games the previous year; or any player who has appeared 100 or more NHL games in his career will pass the test.

Defencemen Martin Marincin (201 NHL games) and Kevin Gravel (106 games), along with forward Frederik Gauthier (70 games with Toronto in 2018-19), are others on today’s roster who join the seven players named above in meeting the preseason veteran criteria.

Two of the Leafs’ Tuesday half-dozen played with the ECHL champion Newfoundland Growlers last season. Forward Hudson Elynuik and blueliner Kristians Rubins are the only two Growlers to have survived the first round of cuts from the Leafs’ camp. However, while they are on American Hockey League contracts, meaning they can really only aspire only to play for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies this season, the fact Elynuik and Rubins are still with the big group has to be a bit of a boost to their career hopes.

There were 22 players trimmed in the first cut, seven who were reassigned to their junior teams.

The other 15, including Newfoundlanders Zach O’Brien and Marcus Power, were transferred to the Marlies, who officially begin their training camp a week from today in Toronto. All 15 are on AHL contracts, except goaltender Ian Scott and centre Aaron Luchuk, both operating with entry-level NHL deals.

Besides O’Brien and Power, other Growlers regulars from last season who have been cut are defenceman Alex Gudbranson and forwards Scott Pooley, Giorgio Estephan and Matt Bradley.

Even with 22 players lopped off, Toronto still has a large group of 54 — 31 forwards, 17 defencemen and six forwards — remaining in the main camp.

There are so many that they will skate in two separate practice sessions at Mile One this morning.The second group will constitute those who will play in a rematch against the Sens Wednesday night in Ottawa.


brendan.mccarthy@thetelegram.com

Twitter: telybrendan


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