Leafs Locker

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

CUT TIME

After 17 players were trimmed from the training camp roster on Sunday, the Leafs are down to 30 bodies -- three goaltenders, 17 forwards and 10 defencemen.

Veteran centre Wayne Primeau, who was at camp on a tryout basis, was given his outright release.

It was no surprise, but still a tough decision for general manager Brian Burke, who appreciated Primeau's contribution to the Leafs last season.

"It's a sad day for us," Burke said. "(Primeau) worked really hard for our team last year and he worked hard to prepare for this season and through training camp.

"It's just time to move in another direction."

The bulk of he moves saw players assigned to the Marlies including five forwards ( Jerry D'Amigo, Brayden Irwin, Marcel Mueller, Greg Scott and Robert Slaney) plus five defencemen ( Keith Aulie, Korbinian Holzer, Simon Gysbers, Juraj Mikus and Mike Brennan.

Goaltenders Jussi Rynnas and Ben Scrivens were also dispatched to the AHL affiliate, which begins its training camp this week.

As expected, four more players were returned to their junior teams -- Jesse Blacker, Andrew Crescenzi, Brad Ross and Jesse Blacker -- while another foursome will be placed on waivers on Monday -- Ryan Hamilton, Darryl Boyce, Joey Crabb and Alex Foster.

If the latter four clear waivers, they also will report to the Marlies.

WINGING IT

With so much uncertainty at centre, Leafs coach Ron Wilson is building his forward lineup around pairs of wingers.

As always, things are subject to change, but the top group is Phil Kessel and Kris Versteeg followed by Nikolai Kulemin-Clarke MacArthur, Colby Armstrong-Fredrik Sjostrom and Mike Brown- Colton Orr.

The top two centres are Tyler Bozak and Mikhail Grabovski, who have each had strong training camps.

Sjostrom, by the way, is recovering from off-season shoulder surgery but has been cleared for contact this week.

Burke said Sjostrom could be in the lineup for Wednesday's pre-season contest in Ottawa but

definitely in time for a pair of weekend dates with the Red Wings.

INJURY UPDATE

Defencemen Matt Lashoff and Brett Lebda, who each sustained minor shoulder injuries during Wednesday's shootout win over the Flyers in London, Ont., will both be out of the lineup temporarily.

Burke said Lebda is expected to be sidelined for two to three weeks while Lashoff is seven to 10 days. Neither is expected to require surgery.

NET PLANS

With four remaining preseason games, the intent is for both J.-S. Giguere and Jonas Gustavsson to get a couple of full contests this week so that they are adequately prepared for the real action.

For now, James Reimer is the third goalie in camp to help at practice and to back them up in games, but plans are to recall Rynass later in the week.

"Jiggy and the Monster have been solid but not spectacular," Burke said in evaluation of goaltender play thus far. "But now they will get some more work."

CENTRE OF ATTENTION

With the struggles of Nazem Kadri, one player who has failed to take advantage of the potential openings at centre is John Mitchell.

Outplayed so far in camp by Christian Hanson, Mitchell has his work cut out for him.

"He's in a battle, what can say," Wilson said. "He has to find a way to do more."

To his credit, Mitchell is well aware of the fight he is in.

"Certainly I can play better, I know I can," said Mitchell who struggled last season, in part because of injuries. "There is always someone fighting for a job to play here. We have games left and you have to come out and show what you can do."


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