The day after a match as exciting as a screen tournament in a Montreal-North brewery, the Canadian should theoretically offer a better show to his supporters on Saturday evening.
Martin St-Louis will indeed deploy two interesting trios during the second visit of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 24 hours.
On the one hand, the trio of Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, Kirby Dach and Juraj Slafkovsky will have a new chance to showcase themselves. The unit had a successful night Wednesday against the Senators, and it will be interesting to see if Harvey-Pinard and Slafkovsky can cement their position alongside the dynamic Dach.
On the other hand, Alex Newhook will get an audition to the right of the inseparable Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki. Sean Monahan was entitled to this chance on Wednesday, after Tanner Pearson on Sunday, in the Reds against Whites duel. We now want to see what Newhook will have to offer in this chair.
Caufield sees Newhook, drafted one spot behind him in 2019, as a player who brings “a lot of speed.” “He competes very hard. He has a lot of experience and knows what to do in certain situations. He is very intelligent. I can’t wait for tonight,” said the man who wears number 22, as Rondell White did in another era.
On day 1 of the camp, it was Emil Heineman who had the chance, but the Swede, who will be playing his first full season in North America, quickly moved up the hierarchy. Heineman will skate Saturday with his compatriot Lias Andersson, as well as Riley Kidney.
Known for his shooting, Heineman made a strong late-season impression last spring, scoring nine points, including seven goals, in 11 games with the Rocket. But he is having a relatively quiet camp so far, after being relatively quiet at the rookie tournament.
“That’s not necessarily what he’s missing,” argued Martin St-Louis. I think he’s still learning how to play on the small ice rink. It’s a combination of everything, but you see he has the potential to establish himself in the NHL. Will it be this year? We don’t know yet. But compared to last year, it is getting closer. »
For those who want to keep score, Kidney and Philippe Maillet will be entitled to their first match of the preparatory calendar on Saturday. Slafkovsky, Kaiden Guhle and Justin Barron will be playing a team-high third game.
Jayden Struble is still waiting to play his first match, but he is hampered by a lower body injury. The defenseman is under daily evaluation, but skated Saturday morning with the injured Christian Dvorak.
Speaking of injuries, Mike Matheson also practiced alone on the ice. The Quebec defender is still slowed down by “discomfort” in his lower body. St. Louis said it’s “hopeful” that Matheson plays one of next week’s two preseason games.
Samuel Montembeault will start the duel and St-Louis said he “thinks” he will play the entire match.
For their part, the Maple Leafs will once again arrive in Montreal with depth players, especially on offense. Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander will be missing, like Friday.
The Leafs will, however, have a more experienced defensive brigade with the presence of Morgan Rielly, T. J. Brodie and Jake McCabe.
Furthermore, the Canadian announced that Lucas Condotta was the victim of the ax. The attacker will, however, have to wait until Sunday before knowing if he will still be a member of the Canadian, since he must first go through waivers, which should be a formality.
Forward Mitchell Stephens and defensemen Nicolas Beaudin and Brady Keeper were also cut and must also go on waivers before reporting to the Rocket.
Of the four players cut, Condotta is the only one to have played for CH. It was during the 82nd and final game of last season.