Toronto Maple Leafs: 5 storylines to watch during training camp

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 23: Frederik Andersen
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 23: Frederik Andersen /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO, ON – FEBRUARY 25: Josh Leivo /

3. Can Josh Leivo and Connor Carrick crack the lineup?

When the Leafs signed Tyler Ennis the conclusion some were coming to was that Leivo’s chances of making the lineup took a serious hit. The opposite goes for Carrick’s because with Roman Polak‘s departure, his chances to make play regularly improved.

Leivo played 16 games last season registering a goal, three assists for four after putting up 10 points in 13 games last season. It has been a tough go for the Innisfil, Ont., native with the lack of playing of time he’s been getting.

It came as a bit of a surprise to see Leivo re-sign with the Leafs last season given the lack of opportunity he had but maybe the thought of getting guaranteed money was enticing. In the first training camp scrimmage, the 25-year-old wasn’t skating with the extras.

Since Nylander isn’t at camp, the decision to play Leivo with Nazem Kadri and Connor Brown could be in response to having Tyler Ennis playing with Auston Matthews. However, what better way for Leivo to showcase himself then with quality linemates. This could finally be the season where he cracks the lineup if Ennis falters or an injury occurs to one of the wingers.

Carrick’s situation is different mainly because of the position he plays and how much he has played the past couple of seasons. In his first season full season with the Leafs, the 24-year-old played 67 games scoring two goals and six assists for eight points, but last season he scored four goals and eight assists in 47 games.

Many have wondered why Carrick has had as much trouble sticking in the lineup given how favourable his possession stats were in comparison to Polak. It became clear that Mike Babcock favoured the bigger frame and veteran experience Polak brought.

That option is now gone from Babcock and on the right side it could come down to Carrick, Igor Ozhiganov and Justin Holl. Carrick has the advantage in experience but that by no means guarantees him anything.

Both situations will be worth keeping an eye on throughout training camp.