Toronto Maple Leafs at Buffalo Sabers – Game preview # 16, screened lineups & TV news – .

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Toronto Maple Leafs at Buffalo Sabers – Game preview # 16, screened lineups & TV news – .


Joseph Woll will make his NHL debut between the posts as the Maple Leafs look for eight wins in their last nine games tonight in Buffalo (7 p.m. EST, Sportsnet / CBC).

The easiest solution would have been to call Michael Hutchinson for what would probably have been another mediocre save start at best, but I’ll give the Leafs credit for changing it here.

Woll, 23, is currently playing on a one-year two-way contract signed after his entry-level contract expired. His three-year professional career has been marred by injuries, and the timing of his healthy stretches often seemed to coincide with many shoddy defensive performances from the Marlies team ahead of him. Some inconsistency in his game, myriad injuries and bad timing all conspired to leave him with very disappointing AHL numbers to date (consistently below 0.895) in a limited sample (50 games over three seasons).

Looks like the Leafs have decided that if they waited for Woll to finally pull off a statistically injury-free AHL series of games before calling him for an NHL look, they might never have gotten a glimpse of him at the highest level. level before his time with the organization runs out. The Leafs organization believes enough in the talent and very athletic character of the 6’4 Missouri native – more than any professional record he’s racked up – that we’ll see him tonight (in the building where the team drafted him 62nd overall in 2016, no less).

That the Leafs have been so invested in keeping Woll’s development on track despite continued setbacks – involving him in the taxi team last season, taking him at different times over the past few years to train with the team, including on road trips – also partly testifies to the fact that the organization knows it needs to improve its overall writing and goalkeeper development. They haven’t produced a single one since James Reimer in 2006.

That’s a big part of why the team has lost so many of their second and third string options to forgo claims over the years. They haven’t developed cheap, knowledgeable young goalies who can move freely between leagues. They acquired Jack Campbell of LA in a business that appears to be nothing short of a masterstroke from Kyle Dubas, but then had to shop as an independent agent and allocate cap dollars (precious ) important to find his 1 billion backup in Petr Mrazek, who is currently injured.

Should the Leafs have given Woll the start at home last night with the rested team? Probably not given that Calgary played hockey pretty well. Buffalo has always been a home of horrors for the Leafs, but this Sabers team returns to Earth after a surprise start with five losses in their last six games, and they’re also tired of hosting Edmonton for a 3-2 last night.

With the Leafs rolling right now (seven wins in their last eight), the timing makes perfect sense. Let’s see what the kid has, and let’s hope the Leafs show up for him tonight.


Match Day Quotes

Sheldon Keefe on the decision to cast Joseph Woll:

I think the great thing is that as an organization we really believe in him. We believe in his talent. In an ideal world, you want him to really get started with the Marlies and really work to develop over the season. As it turns out now, there is an opportunity now.

He played well throughout the camp. He worked extremely hard. It’s been a while now, but he’s coming off of an exceptional last start for the Marlies in his last game. He had more than enough time to train with us.

I told him three or four days ago that he was going to start tonight. He had more than enough opportunities to prepare. It’s a big night for him.

I think the great thing is that our organization really believes in him and his talent. Sometimes things happen because you really earned it and established yourself at the AHL level. Sometimes it happens because someone is hurt and the opportunity is there.

Whether it was Michael Hutchinson or even Erik Kallgren – who was there and did a good job with the Marlies – we had decisions to make there. Joe is a third year pro with us now. It’s good luck for him.

Sabers head coach Don Granato on Dylan Cozens’ two goals in last night’s win as he faced Connor McDavid:

The decision started a few days ago. I watched some Dylan clips. I finished the clips and asked him a question: was he ready to play this game? I looked at his body language. If his body language was different, he wouldn’t have had this match. I liked what I saw and felt he was up to the challenge no matter how it turned out.

… These guys [Cozens, Caggiula, Hinostroza] had good chemistry. They moved as a unit. When you do this you are moving away from each other and you can generate a lot more speed. You could see them build from the Washington game. They had a lot of chances, but they didn’t create chances to score. They followed it up with two good practices, and I felt they were ready for the next step.

Jack Campbell on Joseph Woll:

He’s a big kid. A huge talent too. I really enjoy watching it. I call it Quickie 2.0 – so as not to put too much pressure on it. He’s really flexible. He makes big saves and battles in training. I really like the features of his game. I love having him here.

Auston Matthews sur Woll :

He was awesome. He comes to the rink every day with a good attitude. He’s always smiling. I’ve known him since the days of the national team, so he’s a good boy. He works hard. He loves the game and loves to be there and compete. He will be really excited and ready to go.


Toronto Maple Leafs projected lines

To note: We won’t know until game time if Sheldon Keefe will replace Dermott, Semyonov or Anderson as fresh legs in back-to-back

Before
#58 Michael Bunting – #34 Auston Matthews – #88 William Nylander
#15 Alex Kerfoot – #91 John Tavares – #16 Mitch Marner
# 47 Pierre Engvall – # 64 David Kampf – # 25 Ondrej Kase
#20 Nick Ritchie – #19 Jason Spezza – #24 Wayne Simmonds

Defenders
#44 Morgan Rielly – #78 TJ Brodie
# 8 Jake Muzzin – # 3 Justin Holl
# 38 Rasmus Sandin – # 37 Timothy Liljegren

Goalkeepers
Starter: # 60 Joseph Woll
#36 Jack Campbell

Supplements: Travis Dermott, Kirill Semyonov, Joey Anderson
Injured
: Ilya Mikheyev, Petr Mrazek


Buffalo Sabers projected lines

Before
# 53 Jeff Skinner – # 72 Tage Thompson – # 74 Rasmus Asplund
# 28 Zemgus Girgensons – # 20 Cody Eakin – # 21 Kyle Okposo
#91 Drake Caggiula – #24 Dylan Cozens – #29 Vinnie Hinostroza
# 96 Anders Bjork – # 25 Arttu Ruostalainen – # 15 John Hayden

Defenders
# 26 Rasmus Dahlin – # 13 Mark Pysyk
#78 Jacob Bryson – #33 Colin Miller
#4 Will Butcher – #8 Robert Hagg

Goalkeepers
Starter: # 80 Aaron Dell
# 31: Dustin Tokarski

Injuries: Alex Tuch, Casey Mittelstadt, Henrik Jokiharju, Victor Olofsson, Craig Anderson

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