The Tampa Bay Lightning is traveling to Toronto, but will be doing so without their star defenseman. Victor Hedman will not be traveling with the team, according to The Athletic’s Joe Smith, due to personal reasons at his own request. However, he is expected to meet up with the team on Friday and is expected to participate in all three round-robin games. The blueliner did practice Saturday and is expected to work with strength coach Mark Lambert. He is expected to be tested regularly while in Tampa Bay.
The team did release its roster as NHL.com’s Bryan Burns reports that the team will only bring 28 players with them to Toronto. Including the team’s normal 25-man roster, the team is only adding forwards Mathieu Joseph, Alexander Volkov and goaltender Scott Wedgewood.
Also, head coach Jon Cooper said that Steven Stamkos remains day-to-day and is not expected to participate in the exhibition game, according to Smith. The veteran is hoping to be more involved in practice once the team gets to Toronto. “It’s still in the window of time to get him back,” said Cooper.
- TSN’s Mark Masters writes that if 19-year-old Nick Robertson hopes to get into the Toronto Maple Leafs playoff lineup, he must show that he can be comfortable on the ice in their upcoming exhibition game. The team’s 2019 second-round pick had an impressive junior campaign and has impressed the team enough to keep him on the playoff roster for the upcoming 24-team tournament. What might be more surprising is that the youngster continues to get third-line looks during practice. “He needs to look comfortable,” head coach Sheldon Keefe said. “He needs to make an impact on the game, be it through his work ethic and enthusiasm or his ability to create some offence and capitalize when he gets chances. All those kinds of things … We’re just really looking to see if he can be comfortable and be himself and then see how it all sorts itself out in terms our other players.”
- Brandon Cain of NHL.com reports that the Chicago Blackhawks will take four goaltenders with them to Edmonton for the upcoming 24-team tournament. That is necessary due to the status of veteran Corey Crawford, who recently admitted he tested positive for COVID-19 and missed the first 12 days of training camp. While he has been cleared and participated in a full practice Saturday, that doesn’t mean he’s in game shape for the tournament. The team also will bring Malcolm Subban, Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen.
- NHL.com’s Mitchell Clinton reports that Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers, who was forced to leave Thursday’s scrimmage due to an undisclosed injury, was back at practice Saturday before the team leaves for Edmonton. He is expected to take on a second-line role with the team after scoring 25 goals in 71 games this year.
- Edmonton Journal’s Kurt Leavins writes that Edmonton Oilers fans don’t need to worry about the fact that defenseman Darnell Nurse was forced to sit out Saturday’s team scrimmage with an undisclosed injury. The scribe described the injury as something he “tweaked” during practice earlier in the week. He’s expected to be ready to go.