Matt Frattin

Leafs waive Frattin, Booth debut near?


It’s not the shakeup many expected, but it’s still a change — following last night’s 9-2 loss to Nashville, Toronto put Matt Frattin on waivers.

The move is likely to facilitate the return of David Booth, who’s yet to play this year because of a broken foot. The veteran winger could be back when the Leafs host the Bolts on Thursday.

As for Frattin, the 26-year-old speedster didn’t have much success in his second stint with the Leafs. Traded from Toronto to L.A. as part of the Jonathan Bernier deal in June of ’13, Frattin split last season between the Kings and Jackets before being re-acquired by Toronto in July (for Jerry D’Amigo).

Frattin’s only appeared in six games this year, and hasn’t played since a 5-4 win over the Rangers on Nov. 8.


Leafs juggle lines in search of goal scoring


The Toronto Maple Leafs dropped to 1-4-0 on home ice on Saturday night following a 4-1 loss at the hands of the Boston Bruins.

With the day off to think things over on Sunday, head coach Randy Carlyle returned to the practice ice Monday with a new-look set of lines.

Gone is the roommate-tandem first line of Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak flanked by James van Riemsdyk.

Kessel drops to the Leafs’ second line with Joffrey Lupul and Nazem Kadri while David Clarkson was promoted to the top line.

“Just a little bit of moving some bodies around a little bit,” said Carlyle following a practice, which concluded with some intense skating. “A little bit of change. We feel that we’re not really happy with our production 5-on-5, in the last little while, those things happen and hopefully it simulates more offense from our group.”

Daniel Winnik goes from the second line to join Mike Santorelli and Leo Komarov on the third line. The fourth line of Peter Holland between Richard Panik and Matt Frattin remained unchanged with Carter Ashton also taking shifts with the trio. Ashton has yet to play this season.

“Whenever you get an opportunity to play with those types of players… I’ve played with them in the past so hopefully we can generate some chemistry,” said Kadri. “Phil is going to use his speed, I’m going to have to just read off him and (Lupul) is big down low.”

Added Bozak: “We’re not playing our best so obviously they’re going to change things up. We had a rough game as a team last game so we’ve got to try and spark something here and get back in the win column.”

Toronto will entertain the Buffalo Sabres (2-7-0) on Tuesday night in search of their first regulation home ice win of the season.

Leafs’ Kozun and Wings’ Franzen out in Detroit

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The Leafs and Red Wings have lineup changes as the two teams prepare for the second of a back-to-back, home-and-home set in Detroit tonight.

Out for the visiting Leafs is forward Brandon Kozun. The winger, who surprised many by cracking Toronto’s opening night roster, is out with a left high ankle sprain suffered during the second period of Friday night’s loss.

Kozun, who did not travel to Detroit, underwent an MRI on Saturday in Toronto.

In his place on the fourth line will be Matt Frattin playing alongside Richard Panik and Peter Holland.  Frattin is playing in just his second game of the season and first since the season opener against Montreal.

On the blue line, veteran Stephane Robidas slots back in for rookie Stuart Percy.

For the Red Wings, Johan Franzen, who left last night’s win with a leg cramp, is out – Stephen Weiss makes his regular season debut in his place.

Panik to make Leafs debut Saturday


Richard Panik acquired by Toronto off waivers from Tampa Bay on Thursday is set to make his Leafs debut tonight.

The 23-year-old forward, who has never played at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, is excited for the big stage.

“I haven’t played here because I was a healthy scratch when Tampa Bay played here,” said Panik. “It’s going to be my first game and I’m really excited. It’s a hockey town. Hockey Night in Canada so I’m really excited.”

It appears Panik will start the game against the Penguins on a line with former junior teammate Peter Holland.

“He has a history of playing with Peter Holland a little bit in Guelph in junior hockey,” said Leafs coach Randy Carlyle. “The research from the Tampa people, we’re getting a guy that can make plays.”

Panik has appeared in 75 career NHL games over two seasons all with the Lightning where he has eight goals and 22 points.

The 6-foot-2, 212 pound Slovakian native was originally Tampa Bay’s second round pick at the 2009 NHL Draft.

“I went over systems yesterday so I kind of knew,” said Panik of Carlyle’s style. “It’s pretty similar to Tampa Bay. Nothing major. Simple things. That’s what I’m going to focus on and hopefully it’s going to workout.

“When you can keep the puck in their zone, it’s way easier to play. I’m going to try to make some hits. Stay in the offensive zone.”

Panik made adjustments to his offseason training in an effort to get prepared for the 2014-15 season.

“Every workout that I had, I was trying to treat it like a game,” he said. “Be ready at the workout and I had a mental coach too. I think it’s more mental than physical so I was focusing on that.”

With Panik making his debut, it appears Carter Ashton and Matt Frattin will be healthy scratches against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Would the Leafs break up their top line?


The Toronto Maple Leafs top line of Tyler Bozak between Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk combined for 133 points or 70 percent of the team’s scoring last season.

They were second only to Boston’s trio of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla, which accounted for 152 points in 2013-14.

However, James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail suggests it might make sense to break up the trio and spread the scoring around.

“Would that idiot break up that line?” coach Randy Carlyle said. “You’re saying that [about me]. Or you’re going to say it if I do it.”

Carlyle added, “We’re willing to experiment in training camp.”

That experimenting began on Saturday.

The Leafs dressed lines of Nazem Kadri, van Riemsdyk and Matt Frattin while Kessel played alongside Petri Kontiola and first-round pick William Nylander during a scrimmage on Day 3 of training camp.

The question of breaking up the top trio is prevalent as the Leafs attempt to find that elusive secondary scoring.

As Mirtle points out in his piece, winger Joffrey Lupul has played nearly half his even strength minutes over the past three seasons alongside Kessel. When the duo is together, the Leafs account for 3.7 goals per game. With them playing on separate lines, that number drops to 2.5 goals per game.

Keep in mind that’s a small sample size, but wherever Kessel plays, scoring seems to follow.

“You find ways to get it done out there,” Kessel said. “Obviously training camp’s getting used to guys and getting a feel for it.”

Kadri could also benefit from playing alongside van Riemsdyk on the team’s second line.

“If you see the teams that have success and make the deep playoff runs… they’re pretty balanced,” van Riemsdyk said. “They have a lot of depth. They can beat you in different ways.”

Expect the experimentation process to continue as Toronto begins its’ preseason schedule Monday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Related: Leafs deny rift between Kessel and coaching staff