Toronto Maple Leafs Mike Babcock handed out his prognosis on the length of time the team will be without two of its injured players, including forward Zach Hyman and defenseman Travis Dermott, according to TSN’s Kristen Shilton.
Bobcock said that Hyman, who is recovering from ACL surgery, is likely going to miss 14 to 15 games for the Leafs. That would suggest a potential return sometime in late October or early November. The head coach also said that Dermott, out due to offseason shoulder surgery, will likely miss as many as 12 to 14 games and likely will return at a similar time to Hyman.
- Sticking with the Maple Leafs, Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun reports that Toronto Maple Leafs winger Kasperi Kapanen said he isn’t too worried about switching from the right side to the left to start the season. Kapanen is expected to replace Hyman at left wing on a line with John Tavares and Mitch Marner. “Playing with those guys, it’ll be skating, getting the puck to them, standing in front of the net. I’ll let them do all the nice things and I’ll do the dirty work. It’s just hockey, I’ll figure it out.”
- The Tampa Bay Lightning are already cash-strapped, but the team hopes that one of their younger defensemen is ready for the challenge of taking on a top-pairing role on the defense. Last season, youngster Mikhail Sergachev hoped to take a role next to Victor Hedman, but instead found himself on the third line, working on his defense. That has improved, according to The Athletic’s Joe Smith (subscription required), who writes that Sergachev has a good chance to claim that No. 1 line job next to Hedman this year, especially if he can prove to head coach Jon Cooper that his defense is good enough that he belongs there. In fact, Cooper has stated that he is going to give Sergachev “ample time” to prove that he can earn that spot. The 21-year-old has gotten an endorsement from Hedman, however. “Absolutely,” Hedman said. “Sergy has taken steps (toward improving) every year. He’s an up-and-coming guy, but he’s making a big impact for us right now, and he’s ready for the ice time. It’s a lot of fun for me to play with him. We complement each other well on the ice. We’ll see how the pairings work out, but if we’re paired together, it’ll be a lot of fun.” Sergachev may get a challenge from recently-signed Kevin Shattenkirk, but he changed his workout schedule this summer, with shorter workouts, but at higher intensity. He also had an impressive faring with Russia at the World Championships this summer, quarterbacking their power play. He still hopes to get some power play time, something he got very little of last season.
- NHL.com’s Dana Wakiji writes that the Detroit Red Wings have been quite impressed by the play of their 2019 first-round pick, Moritz Seider. A surprise selection at No. 6, Seider was impressive at the NHL Prospect Tournament and has a legitimate shot at a roster spot with Detroit. However, Seider also said that he would prefer to play in North America whether he makes the Red Wings’ roster or not and said he would be willing to play for the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL. “I think it all depends where I can play the most,” Seider said. “I’m thinking that’s probably in Grand Rapids if I’m not making the team. First of all, you’re here to make the team and you want to be part of the NHL team soon. I don’t know what’s coming after camp, I can’t tell right now.”
- One of Tage Thompson’s biggest advantages is his height at 6-foot-6. However, the Buffalo Sabres young forward has struggled so far in the NHL due to his lanky stature. However, the Buffalo News’ Lance Lysowski writes that Thompson spent the summer eating to get ready for the regular season, as the team placed him on a six-meal-a-day diet with the plan of forcing him to eat between 3,000 to 5,000-calories daily. The result is that the forward gained an extra 13 pounds and now weighs in at 216 pounds, which he hopes will give him the extra strength, especially in the lower body, that he hopes will help him with the grind of the NHL season.