The Toronto Maple Leafs reduced their roster by 14 players today. Of the remaining 29 individuals on the squad, six more will have to be cut before the season starts in October. Management is going to have a tough time deciding who will stay and which six will go.
Certainly, goaltender Ben Scrivens will be one of the six with James Reimer and Jonas Gustavsson all but insured opening day spots. Scrivens has played well, but there is little chance he can stay up no matter how well he plays. The Leafs simply won’t carry three netminders and the other two are going to get the nod.
Defensively, there are still two cuts to be made. The most likely to start the season with the Marlies includes Matt Lashoff, Jake Gardiner, Keith Aulie and Carl Gunnarsson. Out of those four, Gardiner and Aulie are the current consensus favorites to remain.
Offensively, there will be three cuts from the remaining 17 forwards. The obvious choices would be Joey Crabb, Philippe Dupuis and Matt Frattin. Anyone else would likely sit in the press box versus being sent to down the AHL.
These moves couldn’t have come soon enough for a Leafs team that is in desperate need of forming some team chemistry, especially on special teams. Ron Wilson should use the rest of the exhibition season to hone the skills of the power play and penalty kill units.