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Leafs planning on resting to players down the stretch?

Head coach Mike Babcock reveals his lineup strategy for the team’s final 13 games.

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Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock met with the media following this morning’s game day skate in Toronto as the Leafs get set to host the Dallas Stars later this evening.

The Leafs have 13 games left on the 2017-18 regular season schedule and have almost assuredly locked up a playoff spot in the abysmal Atlantic Division, which has led to speculation that the team may rest some of its more prominent players down the stretch. The team has been cautious with superstar Auston Matthews since he went down with a shoulder injury three weeks ago and starting goaltender Frederik Andersen has already admitted to feeling fatigued. With the Leafs’ top players suddenly running out of gas, will Babcock throw them a bone and rest some of his top players down the stretch?

When asked about the value of rest down the stretch, Babcock took issue saying, “I thought last game we showed that in the first 10 minutes and we didn’t execute at all. They were way quicker than us, but I think the way we’ve played and practiced we should be better.”

So, he won’t rest players down the stretch? To be fair, the Leafs have had a light schedule this past week and Babcock feels, rightly or wrongly, that it should provide the team with some extra energy for the stretch drive.

“The rest has been unbelievable for our goaltender and our team in general just to get re-energized. We’re set up pretty good now here, but we just got to get to work and use our depth the best we can.”

Interesting… could the use of the word “depth” possibly mean that the Leafs are planning to work in some Marlies players or scratches like Dominic Moore and Connor Carrick more often? Time will tell. 

Breaking: Leafs demote young blue liner to AHL

Less than 24 hours after being called up from the Toronto Marlies on an emergency recall, the Toronto Maple Leafs have demoted defenceman Calle Rosen back to the AHL.

Officially Rosen will be “on loan” to the Marlies while the Leafs sort out whether or not the ill Nikita Zaitsev (flu) will be able to play tonight against the Dallas Stars. There’s also concern for Leafs rookie Travis Dermott, who missed the team’s practice yesterday.

No official word yet from the Leafs on who plays and who sits tonight at Air Canada Centre.

From the Leafs’ official press release:

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that the hockey club has loaned defenceman Calle Rosen to the Toronto Marlies (AHL).
Rosen, 24, has recorded 17 points (1 goal, 16 assists) in 50 games with the Toronto Marlies (AHL) and has skated in four games with the Maple Leafs this season. The Växjö, Sweden native signed with Toronto as a free agent on May 16, 2017. Rosen registered 33 points (nine goals, 24 assists) in 96 career SHL games.
The Maple Leafs return to action tonight at 7 p.m. when they host the Dallas Stars at Air Canada Centre.

Breaking: Leafs sign 4th round pick to AHL deal

The Toronto Marlies, AHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs, have announced that they’ve signed defenseman Jesper Lindgren to an amateur try-out (ATO) contract.

This move, likely necessitated due to the Leafs’ emergency call up of Marlies regular Calle Rosen, will help solidify the Marlies’ defence corps as they gear up for a lengthy Calder Cup Playoffs run.

The 20 year old Lindgren recently completed his season with HPK Hameenlinna in the Finnish Elite League (SM-liiga) where he put up two goals and eight points in 43 games. The 6’0”, 160 pound blue liner was chosen in the 4th round (95th overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

Breaking: Former Leafs goalie signs NHL contract

Former Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick Antoine Bibeau has signed a two-year contract extension with the San Jose Sharks with an average annual cap hit of $650,000.

The 23 year old native of Victoriaville, Quebec is having a stellar season in the AHL with the Sharks’ affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda. In 33 games, Bibeau has 18 wins to go along with a respectable 2.09 goals against average and .928 save percentage. 

Leafs fans may remember Bibeau from his brief audition last season where he put up a 1.99 goals against average and .927 save percentage in just two NHL games last season. After he was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Leafs this past summer, Bibeau hit the open market as an unrestricted free-agent and was quickly snapped up by the Sharks. Now, with another successful AHL season under his belt, it looks like Bibeau might be ready for NHL action. Did the Leafs blow it by letting this kid get away?