The Maple Leafs roster is taking shape, before the finished product heads to a Northern Ontario retreat prior to the start of the regular season.
The splitting of camp becomes official when the farm team Marlies fly to Edinburgh, Scotland, on Tuesday night for a tournament involving the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs and two British teams. Their AHL roster is expected to be bolstered by NHL-experienced forwards Ben Ondrus and Andre Deveaux, who were placed on league waivers today with forwards Ryan Hamilton and Alex Foster. They can be claimed by noon today.
The Leafs, with 30-odd players still in camp, will reduce their numbers in the next five exhibition games, starting Tuesday at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins. When they get to the 23-man NHL maximum next week, coach Ron Wilson has plans to use some of the three days prior to the Oct. 1 opener against the Montreal Canadiens at a resort in the Huntsville area as a final team-bonding exercise, involving paintball and other pursuits.
Goalie Jonas Gustavsson will be practising with the team for the first time Tuesday morning after getting back on the ice today following an ablation process a week ago to restore a proper heart beat. Gustavsson worked out with instructor Francois Allaire.
Injured Leafs at practice today included defenceman Jeff Finger (strained abdominal muscle) and forward Jason Allison, who was ill.
The starting defence was almost complete for Saturday’s win over the Flyers when Francois Beauchemin, Tomas Kaberle, Mike Komisarek, Luke Schenn and Grant Exelby were in uniform, but don’t count out Mike Van Ryn, slow to recover from a knee injury, yet soon to be ready for exhibition action.