[EHM 2018-10-05] Exhibition Twelve Leafs 1 @ Habs 4

Tyler Bozak came as a try-out player for a week.

    IR-Shipachyov DtD

Baun and Jokinen are try-outs so they don't count against the player cap. There is also no extra defenseman being carried, so we have three forwards.

The defensive lines look good. With only one pre-season game left, plus shinny with IceCaps, it's good to see some things have fallen into place.

Gallagher just took-off on a line with Thornton and Dawes, which makes sense. Playmaker, shooter, crash the net. I expect them to stay together.

It seems that Byron will fit in somewhere but likely get bounced from line to line as injuries and other issues crop up. The thing with Byron is that he's the team's PK specialist but otherwise other players plug the holes better. Tatar, Reaves, Ritchie and Jokinen haven't quite found their place and when Shipachyov comes back, other players may be bumped.

I can't say enough how steady Alzner has been back there. For whatever reason he doesn't gel with Weber but otherwise he makes the right plays no matter the situation. Unfortunately, Valiev has been consistently walked around and needs to learn how to cut the skater off into the boards. Assistant Coach Bert Robertson will spend some one-on-one time with him.

If Koivu is released and Deslauriers waived again we'll be left with Ritchie and Byron. Baun will leave when his tryout is over however there is the possible signing of Bozak and the more remote signing of Jokinen.

Jokinen was brought in to play with Koivu and plays pretty well with others but he'd probably have to accept some games in the AHL to stay.

In some ways I feel bad for Deslauriers because Ritchie stole his spot without doing the actual work. He's come in quite highly touted and Deslauriers has worked hard and played well but for him it's sit as an extra in Montreal or play regularly on one of the affiliate teams. In fact, considering the glut in the LW position, he might even be loaned out. It's doubly unfortunate because like Byron, Deslauriers can fit almost anywhere (except centre).

Shipachyov has resumed practice, which will tighten up the roster a bit.

Centre Mika Niemi is signed to a contract that starts at the national transfer window next year. He currently plays for Jokerit in the KHL.