September 5, 2017, 12:26 PM ET [152 Comments]
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A small group of players have been a regular presence at the MasterCard Centre for weeks, but with the rookie tournament starting at Ricoh Coliseum on Friday and training camp beginning in Niagara Falls, ON next week, a larger contingent of what is expected to constitute the Toronto Maple Leafs opening night roster assembled at their practice facility in Etobicoke, ON on Tuesday.
TSN’s Kristen Shilton spotted goaltenders Frederik Andersen and Curtis McElhinney, defensemen Connor Carrick, Martin Marincin, Jake Gardiner, Morgan Rielly, and forwards Tyler Bozak, Leo Komarov and Nazem Kadri on the ice.
Also present were rookie defensemen Calle Rosen and Andreas Borgman, signed away from Vaxjo and HV71 of the Swedish Hockey League in May.
The 23-year-old Rosen and 21-year-old Borgman (who won the SHL’s Rookie of the Year last season) are expected to be in competition for a spot on the Leafs blueline, but in spite not having any experience playing in North America, the pair will not participate in the rookie tournament against prospects from the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators
Marlies defensemen Andrew Nielsen, Travis Dermott and 2017 first rounder Timothy Liljegren are among the nine blueliners who will see action. Nielsen had an up-and-down first year with the Leafs AHL affiliate, leading the club in defensive scoring with 39 points, but struggling during the Calder Cup playoffs. Dermott missed six weeks with a high ankle sprain last November, but played well down the stretch and into the post-season.
Liljegren has a remarkable skill set and might have a shot at making the NHL as an 18-year-old if everything falls into place, but the most likely scenario for the 17th overall pick is playing with the Marlies or in the SHL, along with playing for Sweden at the 2018 World Junior in Buffalo.