Thanks to a 4-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, the Maple Leafs are now 2-0 in preseason. While that means exactly nothing, especially given this was the exact same Flyers lineup playing its second night in a row, we did get our first looks at William Nylander (rookie tourney notwithstanding), Mike Santorelli, Roman Polak and Henrik Tallinder.
With five regular NHL defencemen in the lineup, it was good to see the Leafs gave their goaltenders just 14 shots of work through two periods, although Antoine Bibeau needed a 13-save effort to preserve the shutout in the third. We’ll have to see what he does with a good sample of AHL starts, but the last six months from Bibeau (Mem Cup shutouts while up against huge shot totals, didn’t get scored on in camp scrimmages, didn’t get scored on tonight) have been attention-grabbing and he is making up for lost time after getting passed over in his initial draft year.
JvR scored twice (only one counted), while Brandon Kozun, Cody Franson and William Nylander rounded out the scoring.
- William Nylander – Looked nervous to start, but as the game went on he got more comfortable and his play improved. Whenever he had open space he was dangerous (PP, a few odd man rushes), but he struggled to create open space otherwise. It’s just game one, though, and the difficulty of playing on his off-wing in North America may have caught him off guard.
- Mike Santorelli – Had a few bursts of speed in the neutral zone to break into the offensive zone and let go of some nice wrist shots. Was thrown into a big spot (centering the star and top prospect) and acquitted himself well.
- Phil Kessel – Still have no idea why Jeff O’Neill was saying he should be a leader in the preseason after the first period.
- JvR – Goals and obvious stuff aside, it was interesting to see him on the PK again. The Leafs have added Komarov, Santorelli and Winnik, who are all capable PKers. Bozak usually plays on the PK, too. But it’s early and it might mean nothing.
- Trevor Smith – Didn’t look completely out of place, but it’s hard for him to keep up with JVR and Lupul because of his skating issues.
- Joffrey Lupul – Lupul goes through the motions every year in preseason.
- Leo Komarov – Made a noticeable impact almost every shift. Dogged on the forecheck, as per usual. Adept at protecting the puck and managing it. The little picks he makes on the cycle (one contributing to Cody Franson’s goal), the way he drives the net, the little slashes behind the legs at the faceoff circle are always what stand out the most.
- Greg McKegg – Had an up and down game. Some shifts he was part of a dominant cycle with Komarov and Kozun, other shifts he coughed up the puck with ease (and even without being pressured).
- Brandon Kozun – Got pasted a few times, but always bounced right back up and kept working the walls. His line had some really dominant cycle shifts.
- David Broll – If you want a big bruiser with some reasonable puck skills on your fourth line, he’s your guy. Want to see him with players of his ilk, instead of either enforcers or players way above his talent level, to see how he cycles with them (i.e. Winnik, Carrick, maybe Frattin).
- McMillan – Took an honest shift.
- Colton Orr – Watched Broll fight. Watched Jake Gardiner get run over. Made one nice diving pass to set up Phaneuf for a one timer, though.
- Dion Phaneuf – Looked okay on the left side, but the game was so slow that he wasn’t pressured enough to really be put out of his comfort zone and really test the waters. He’ll have some adjusting to do after many years on his offside, no doubt. There were a few sloppy pivots, at times he seemed to struggle getting his eyes settled on his passing targets, and he was caught wandering to the right a few times. He was fine once he got turned in the right direction with the puck.
- Cody Franson – Glad he’s in camp this year and it will hopefully translate well to the season. Had trouble getting his shot off last year, so it was nice to see him get a few through.
- Jake Gardiner – For a skater and puck handler like Gardiner, playing against very few NHLers is extremely easy.
- Roman Polak – Hopefully his NHL debut doesn’t go the same as his preseason debut. Had flashbacks to Mike Komisarek being over aggressive in his first game as a Leaf. He’s clearly a ferociously strong man.
- Viktor Loov – His speed really stood out and he wasn’t afraid to mix it up physically, either. Ripped NHL passes on the tape including a nice slap-pass attempt. Has to learn NHL D-zone spacing, though.
- Henrik Tallinder – Played like a steady veteran taking a regular shift, not doing anything wrong. That’s his game, and as a veteran depth defenseman that might be appealing to keep around.
- Jonathan Bernier – Not much work with only 12 shots in 30 minutes of action, but he appeared very comfortable and composed, as we’ve become accustomed to, and was placing rebounds in the areas he wanted to.
- Antoine Bibeau – Having a good camp right now. Has not had a goal scored on him between camp and pre-season. A promising combination of size and athletic ability.
Toronto Maple Leafs Player Stats
|NO.||PLAYER||POS||G||A||P||+/-||PIM||S||HITS||FO%||PP TOI||SH TOI||TOI|
|21||J. van Riemsdyk||L||1||0||1||1||0||3||0||0%||3:22||0:48||11:28|
Toronto Maple Leafs Possession Stats
|21||JAMES VAN RIEMSDYK||L||19||15||4||11||10||1||6||3||3||2||2||0|
Nylander’s first NHL goal: