National Post (Latest Edition)

Leafs down to final cuts

Some players sure to be disappoint­ed

- Terry Koshan tkoshan@postmedia.com

The most intriguing Toronto Maple Leafs cuts are to come. The Leafs placed four players — forwards Joey Anderson and Brett Seney, and defencemen Carl Dahlstrom and Brennan Menell — on waivers on Wednesday, and if each clears, the expectatio­n is the Toronto Marlies will be the landing spot.

Also on Wednesday, goaltender Michael Hutchinson cleared waivers.

Including the cuts that came on Tuesday, the Leafs have eight defencemen and 17 forwards remaining on the roster as the NHL pre-season enters its final days.

There remains something to prove for a group of skaters at practice in the next couple of days in Gravenhurs­t and then, presuming they play, in the pre-season finale on Saturday at Scotiabank Arena against the Ottawa Senators.

We would put defencemen Timothy Liljegren and Alex Biega, and forwards Mike Amadio, Adam Brooks, Pierre Engvall, Kurtis Gabriel and Kirill Semyonov on the bubble

No matter what, there will be some disappoint­ed players, as coach Sheldon Keefe has been relatively happy with the play.

“That’s the reality,” Keefe said. “The league is hard to get in to and good teams especially are hard to get in to.

“The waiver system is built in for that, for guys that belong in the NHL, there are 31 other teams that have an opportunit­y, so we’ve got that process that will play out for some of our players.”

Biega, Amadio, Brooks, Gabriel and Engvall would require waivers to be sent to the minors. Liljegren and Semyonov would not.

“There’s going to be no shortage of opportunit­y for anybody (that has been cut),” Keefe said. “It’s all about how you control what you can control from this day forward. We’re watching every day. The organizati­on is monitoring the progress of players, and we’re monitoring the performanc­e of our own guys and assessing whether we have the right guys.

“The depth that we have through camp doesn’t just disappear. Those guys are still going to be in the organizati­on and we can make a shift anytime we deem appropriat­e.”

Among the cuts on Tuesday was 20-year-old winger Nick Robertson.

“Our depth has improved significan­tly from where we were a couple of seasons ago, when someone like Nick Robertson came right out of junior into our lineup,” Keefe said. “Now, it’s a harder team to make because of the number of players we have.

“It’s a positive sign for us, but it also allows Nick the appropriat­e time to go down and work on his game. The commitment that he has is really impressive for a young guy. I fully expect that we’ll have him around at some point. We’re going to need him.”

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