New strains debut in Leaf scrimmage as camp begins

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NIAGARA FALLS –Tyler Ennis and Auston Matthews collectively, two Swedes enjoying with a Finn and Josh Leivo on the next profile line all made for an fascinating first day of Maple Leafs’ coaching camp on-ice exercises.

Whereas the diminutive Ennis performed right-wing within the shadow of Matthews, as was forecast by William Nylander’s absence, Friday was the primary time coach Mike Babcock gave a touch to what his third and fourth strains may be.

Although the lineups in precise exhibition video games subsequent week will probably be extra vital to watch, Babcock bumped frequent wholesome scratch Josh Leivo as much as the left aspect of Nazem Kadri and Connor Brown, whereas Kaspari Kapanen was put with new Swedish centre Par Lindholm on a projected fourth unit with left winger Andreas Johnsson, who completed with the Leafs in final 12 months’s playoffs.

Within the scrimmage sport, Matthews scored on rookie Eamon McAdam for the shootout’s solely aim, with John Tavares and Mitch Marner amongst these fumbling their possibilities.

“A few Swedes, I’m not joyful about that,” quipped the Finnish Kapanen. “However we performed nicely, so I’ll take it.”

Leafs’ William Nylander stays a restricted free agent and away from coaching camp. (ERNEST DOROSZUK/Toronto Solar)

The Baltic rivalry chirping went each methods, however Lindholm is hoping to catch hearth with anybody Babcock places with him. He was a defensive star for a number of seasons at dwelling, however when he began generated offence final season, many NHL groups got here calling and based mostly on their repute as an up and coming workforce, Lindholm picked the Leafs.

“I’ve performed some hockey in my life,” mentioned Lindholm about being portrayed as a newcomer. “There’s positively extra pace right here (he’s spent the previous few weeks making an attempt to regulate to shorter rink lengths) and extra begins and stops and quick turns. It’s going to be enjoyable.

“They (Kapanen and Johnsson) are each younger gamers and have pace. I don’t Finland that a lot, however I’ve acquired to love (Kapanen).”

Johnsson is aware of that his component of shock is gone.

“I don’t really feel I’ve a spot (assured),” mentioned the member of the Marlies; Calder Cup champions. “Positive, I had some video games final season, however I haven’t been right here for a full one.”

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His line was not within the scrimmage sport, which featured Tavares’s debut in entrance of a whole bunch of full of life native schoolchildren on the Gale Centre. The brand new star centred Marner and Zach Hyman for Crew Apps in opposition to Crew Horton.

Tavares went head-to-head in opposition to Matthews on the opening draw, with the 5-9, 170-pound Ennis instead of Nylander, who’s again in Sweden in a contract dispute.

Leivo, who says he feels nice after a brand new eating regimen routine, intends to make his mark this season, after spending a lot of 2017-18 with a wholesome scratch. He’s getting a premier alternative with centre Nazem Kadri and right-winger Connor Brown.

The lack of workforce main scorer James van Riemsdyk opens up a giant probability for Leivo.

“I’m going to get the shot to play,” mentioned Leivo, who has 22 factors in 57 Leaf video games when he does swimsuit up. “I get to play with guys who’re truly on the workforce and that motivates me to wish to play much more. The final couple of camps I used to be probably not with any (set) line mates.

“We’re all excited to play collectively (on the brand new line). Hopefully, we keep collectively.”

lhornby@postmedia.com



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