Breaking down Leafs roster

Maple Leafs goaltender Jonas Gustavsson stops a shot during practice at the MasterCard Centre in...

Maple Leafs goaltender Jonas Gustavsson stops a shot during practice at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto, Ont., Oct. 3, 2011. (DAVE THOMAS/QMI Agency)

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:06 PM ET

TORONTO - When the Maple Leafs sent defenceman Keith Aulie and forward Mike Zigomanis to the AHL Marlies and placed forward Darryl Boyce and defenceman Matt Lashoff on waivers on Monday, the opening night roster for Thursday’s curtain-raiser against the Montreal Canadiens appears set ... at least for the time being.

There certainly remain issues, however.

Free agent Tim Connolly, inked to a two-year, $9 million US free agent deal over the summer, is questionable for the game with an upper body ailment.

And what will the Leafs do when highly-touted prospect Nazem Kadri, out with a knee injury, is ready to come back in several weeks? A rehab assignment with the Marlies would seem to be the logical choice but we’ll have to wait and see.

In the meantime, here is a rundown of the 23 players who are on the Toronto roster at this time after Monday’s moves.

FORWARDS

Mikhail Grabovski

Practised on Monday, although favoured his bruised ankle at times. First line centre.

Nikolai Kulemin

Arguably the best two-way player among Leafs top-6 forwards. Underrated.

Clarke MacArthur

Will miss games against Habs (Thursday) and Sens (Saturday) due to suspension. His $3.25 million cap hit seems reasonable, given some of the ludicruous contracts handed out over the summer.

Phil Kessel

Been battling a minor groin injury but played against Wings on Friday. With Connolly already ailing, he practiced Monday alongside his buddy Tyler Bozak.

Tim Connolly

Coach Ron Wilson said on Monday that Connolly (upper body) is “50-50” for the season opener against Montreal on Thursday. Known as being brittle during his Buffalo Sabre days, should it be a warning sign that he’s already sidelined? Will centre Kessel if and when he’s healthy.

Joffrey Lupul

Can he repeat his 25-goal performance of 2008-09? Showed flashes since coming over from Anaheim in the Beauchemin deal last February.

Colby Armstrong

Coming off a broken foot late last season, Armstrong brings much-needed sandpaper to the lineup. Question is: Can he stay healthy?

Tyler Bozak

Given Connolly’s uncertain status, Bozak finds himself practising between Kessel and Lupul and could be there on Thursday against the Habs. Has enjoyed an excellent camp with four points in two games.

Matt Frattin

Earned a spot on the roster coming out of camp, partially because of his fine play, partially because his primary competitor for the job, Nazem Kadri, is out at least a couple of weeks with a knee injury. Has practised in MacArthur’s spot alongside Grabovski and Kulemin while MacArthur serves his suspension.

Philippe Dupuis

In the end, he got the nod over Darryl Boyce because the coaches feel he is the better penalty killer. Given the hapless special teams the Leafs have exhibited the past several seasons, any help is welcome.

Matthew Lombardi

Feel-good story of camp, returning to action after a year-long hiatus due to concussion issues. Speedster will start on the fourth line with Brown and Orr/Rosehill, but don’t be surprised if he works his way up once he gets comfortable playing regularly again.

Mike Brown

Has been a force since rehabbing from groin surgery, scoring twice in his two preseason appearances. A fourth liner with both speed and toughness.

Colton Orr

Received full medical clearance at beginning of camp after missing final two months of regular season with concussion issues. Still regarded as one of top heavyweights in the league.

Jay Rosehill

Has shown improved skating skills through camp, a must in a league where enforcers must now prove they can do more than fight.

DEFENCE

Dion Phaneuf

Claims he will start the season alongside Carl Gunnarsson. Both like to jump into the offence, so which one will stay back? If neither does, it could spell trouble.

Carl Gunnarson

There was speculation heading into camp that he might not be in the Top 6. But after a fine preseason he now finds himself lining up beside the captain.

John Michael Liles

Has been the perfect power play replacement for the departed Tomas Kaberle. Very fluid skater.

Luke Schenn

With his well-earned new contract in his back pocket, his stay-at-home style seems to be an ideal complement to Liles go-go-go tendencies. Liles-Schenn seems to be a nice pairing ... on paper.

Jake Gardiner

Rookie wowed Maple Leafs brass during preseason to earn a spot. Arguably the best all-around skater on the roster.

Mike Komisarek

Probable opening-night partner for Gardiner, giving the rookie a nice veteran partner on the ice. Once considered an afterthought to make the starting six, Komisarek has enjoyed his best camp in the past three years.

Cody Franson

Wilson revealed he will start the season as the team’s seventh defenceman. Could see some playing time on power play. Was just “so-so” during exhibition season.

GOALIES

James Reimer

Looked wobbly at times during preseason, but Wilson said on Monday that brass is confident he can be a solid No. 1 goalie in the NHL.

Jonas Gustavsson

Still has a tendency to overplay shots, leaving him out of position at times on rebounds. Young Ben Scrivens is looming over his shoulder.


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