In what could be a prequel to next summer’s Expansion Draft, it looks like Pierre Engvall is the odd man out…
Today’s @MapleLeafs practice lines and defensive pairings:
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) July 29, 2020
Going into the exhibition game against Montreal it appeared that Engvall was to be the Leafs fourth line center, but today those responsibilities seem to have shifted back to Freddie Gauthier.
By the eye test last night, Gauthier did seem to be the better player. He was more noticeable at both ends of the night, while Engvall was solid, but seemingly less involved.
By the numbers…
Engvall didn’t register a shot on goal last night, while Gauthier registered one high danger scoring chance. Neither saw a ton of ice time for that matter either, with Engvall playing only 3:45 total, while Gauthier had 5:58 at 5v5. Both saw some time on the penalty kill as well. Of all the Leafs, Gauthier and Engvall had the two lowest ice time totals.
The on ice numbers favour Engvall, who was much more of a low event player. He was a 50% Corsi For% player based off of two events, and had 100% Fenwick for and expected goals for, off of one single event in his 3:45 of 5v5 icetime.
Gauthier had a 37.5% CF% based on 8 corsi events. His xGF% was 40.78% which is less than ideal, but I can’t think of any smaller sample sizes than what we’re talking with Engvall and Gauthier.
While I’ve focused largely on Engvall vs. Gauthier, it’s also significantly more interesting to note that it looks like Robertson will get his shot to start the playoffs on the third line. His secondary assist, and the increased production from Alexander Kerfoot probably helped his cause an awful lot, but don’t be surprised if we see Engvall working with that line at points this week as well, assuming that if Robertson struggles against the Blue Jackets, that might be where he comes in, instead of replacing Gauthier.
With four more days to go until the Leafs play again, this is far from a lineup set in stone, but it at least lets us know what way Keefe is leaning fulling the one and only exhibition game.