All posts by Josh Wegman

Report: Smith-Pelly’s preseason absence due to conditioning issues

Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly has yet to suit up in the preseason, and the reasoning became more clear on Tuesday.

Smith-Pelly failed to meet certain conditioning standards at Caps training camp, a person with knowledge of the situation told Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post.

Capitals head coach Todd Reirden wouldn't confirm this, but hinted towards such last week.

"He’s still trying to get to the level where he was at last year, and until he does, it doesn’t do us any good as a team or for him to be playing in games," Reirden said.

When asked if Smith-Pelly would be ready for the season opener on Oct. 3, Reirden said it's "day to day in terms of how he's progressing."

This isn't the first time Smith-Pelly has dealt with conditioning issues. Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said heading into last year's training camp that Smith-Pelly's conditioning level and work ethic was "a little inconsistent." Former Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien also publicly called him out for the same issues during his tenure in Montreal, according to The Athletic's Arpon Basu.

Smith-Pelly doesn't seem to think his absence from preseason action will be an issue once the games count.

"It was a short summer," Smith-Pelly said last week, according to Khurshudyan. "I'm not going to make any excuse or anything, but a short summer, a little different. … I don't think it's really a story. I don’t think it's really a thing. I think Todd would probably tell you the same thing. It's not really a big deal. I'm doing what I have to do to be ready for when it really matters."

Smith-Pelly was sensational during Washington's run to the Stanley Cup last spring, potting seven goals in 24 postseason games, including a remarkable game-tying tally in the Game 5 clincher.

The 26-year-old signed a one-year, $1-million contract with the Capitals this summer.

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Fantasy: Updated Banger League Rankings (hits, blocks) – Top 200

Below are the top 200 skaters and goalies ranked in descending order based on their value in banger leagues. A typical banger league consists of the following categories:

Skaters Goalies
Goals Wins
Assists Goals-against average
Plus/minus Save percentage
Penalty minutes Shutouts
Power-play points
Shots on goal
Hits
Blocked shots

The key difference between a banger league and a standard league is the addition of hits and blocked shots. Though it may seem like a minor difference, the inclusion of those categories can greatly affect the value of players.

Rk. Player Team Pos.
1 Alex Ovechkin WSH LW
2 Connor McDavid EDM C
3 Brent Burns SJ D
4 Jamie Benn DAL C/LW
5 Sidney Crosby PIT C
6 Victor Hedman TB D
7 Erik Karlsson SJ D
8 Taylor Hall NJ LW
9 Evgeni Malkin PIT C
10 Blake Wheeler WPG C/RW
11 Dustin Byfuglien WPG D
12 Nathan MacKinnon COL C
13 Tyler Seguin DAL C
14 Drew Doughty LA D
15 Patrik Laine WPG RW
16 Nikita Kucherov TB RW
17 Brad Marchand BOS LW
18 Auston Matthews TOR C
19 P.K. Subban NSH D
20 Evander Kane SJ LW
21 John Tavares TOR C
22 Vincent Trocheck FLA C
23 Andrei Vasilevskiy TB G
24 Vladimir Tarasenko STL RW
25 Steven Stamkos TB C
26 Anze Kopitar LA C
27 Brayden Schenn STL C
28 John Carlson WSH D
29 Roman Josi NSH D
30 Connor Hellebuyck WPG G
31 Sergei Bobrovsky CLB G
32 Seth Jones CLB D
33 Rasmus Ristolainen BUF D
34 Filip Forsberg NSH LW
35 Dustin Brown LA RW
36 Pekka Rinne NSH G
37 Tom Wilson WSH RW
38 Mark Scheifele WPG C
39 Jack Eichel BUF C
40 Evgeny Kuznetsov WSH C
41 Aleksander Barkov FLA C
42 Jonathan Quick LA G
43 Alex Pietrangelo STL D
44 Ivan Provorov PHI D
45 John Gibson ANA G
46 Matt Dumba MIN D
47 David Pastrnak BOS RW
48 Gabriel Landeskog COL LW
49 Patrick Kane CHI RW
50 Ryan Getzlaf ANA C
51 Patrice Bergeron BOS C
52 Frederik Andersen TOR G
53 Wayne Simmonds PHI RW
54 Rickard Rakell ANA LW/RW
55 Shayne Gostisbehere PHI D
56 Jonathan Marchessault VGK C/LW
57 Artemi Panarin CLB LW
58 Marc-Andre Fleury VGK G
59 Martin Jones SJ G
60 Joe Pavelski SJ C/RW
61 Patric Hornqvist PIT RW
62 John Klingberg DAL D
63 Claude Giroux PHI C/LW
64 Brock Boeser VAN RW
65 Kyle Palmieri NJ RW
66 Alexander Radulov DAL RW
67 Leon Draisaitl EDM C/RW
68 Oliver Ekman-Larsson ARI D
69 Matthew Tkachuk CGY LW
70 Braden Holtby WSH G
71 Phil Kessel PIT RW
72 Devan Dubnyk MIN G
73 J.T. Miller TB C/RW
74 Max Pacioretty VGK LW
75 Jakub Voracek PHI RW
76 William Karlsson VGK C/LW
77 Tuukka Rask BOS G
78 Kris Letang PIT D
79 Mark Giordano CGY D
80 Jeff Carter LA C
81 Matt Murray PIT G
82 Dougie Hamilton CAR D
83 Darnell Nurse EDM D
84 Johnny Gaudreau CGY LW
85 Mathew Barzal NYI C
86 Ben Bishop DAL G
87 Sean Couturier PHI C
88 Mitch Marner TOR RW
89 Ryan Ellis NSH D
90 Jake Muzzin LA D
91 Corey Crawford CHI G
92 Carey Price MTL G
93 Torey Krug BOS D
94 Josh Anderson CLB RW
95 Ryan Suter MIN D
96 Colton Parayko STL D
97 Mike Smith CGY G
98 Mikko Rantanen COL RW
99 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins EDM C/LW
100 Aaron Ekblad FLA D
101 Josh Manson ANA D
102 Victor Arvidsson NSH RW
103 Jason Zucker MIN LW/RW
104 Boone Jenner CLB C/LW
105 Logan Couture SJ C/LW
106 Brayden Point TB C
107 Chris Kreider NYR LW
108 Mark Stone OTT RW
109 Mika Zibanejad NYR C
110 Antti Raanta ARI G
111 Milan Lucic EDM LW
112 Tyler Toffoli LA RW
113 Travis Konecny PHI LW/RW
114 Charlie McAvoy BOS D
115 Justin Faulk CAR D
116 Sean Monahan CGY C
117 Brandon Montour ANA D
118 Tomas Hertl SJ C/LW/RW
119 Jacob Trouba WPG D
120 Eric Staal MIN C
121 Nikolaj Ehlers WPG LW/RW
122 Sebastian Aho CAR C/LW
123 Colin Miller VGK D
124 Ryan O'Reilly STL C
125 Cam Talbot EDM G
126 Jake Allen STL G
127 Roberto Luongo FLA G
128 Jake Guentzel PIT LW
129 Jaden Schwartz STL LW
130 Mikael Granlund MIN C/RW
131 Jeff Skinner BUF LW
132 Carter Hutton BUF G
133 Shea Weber MTL D
134 Andrei Svechnikov CAR RW
135 Ilya Kovalchuk LA LW/RW
136 Alex Edler VAN D
137 Nikita Zadorov COL D
138 James van Riemsdyk PHI LW
139 Reilly Smith VGK LW/RW
140 Nazem Kadri TOR C
141 Nicklas Backstrom WSH C
142 William Nylander TOR C/RW
143 Ryan Johansen NSH C
144 Semyon Varlamov COL G
145 Phlipp Grubauer COL G
146 Erik Johnson COL D
147 Adam Larsson EDM D
148 Tyson Barrie COL D
149 Morgan Rielly TOR D
150 Ryan McDonagh TB D
151 Anthony Mantha DET LW/RW
152 Henrik Lundqvist NYR G
153 Alex DeBrincat CHI LW/RW
154 Clayton Keller ARI LW/RW
155 Elias Pettersson VAN C
156 Cory Schneider NJ G
157 Mikhail Sergachev TB D
158 Nino Niederreiter MIN LW/RW
159 Pierre-Luc Dubois CLB C/LW
160 T.J. Oshie WSH RW
161 Corey Perry ANA RW
162 Eeli Tolvanen NSH RW
163 Robin Lehner NYI G
164 Nick Foligno CLB C/RW
165 Bryan Little WPG C
166 Ondrej Palat TB LW
167 David Perron STL LW
168 Jake Gardiner TOR D
169 Juuse Saros NSH G
170 James Reimer FLA G
171 Cam Atkinson CLB RW
172 Nick Bjugstad FLA C/RW
173 Filip Zadina DET LW
174 Kevin Shattenkirk NYR D
175 Michael Del Zotto VAN D
176 Teuvo Teravainen CAR LW/RW
177 Ty Rattie EDM RW
178 Matt Duchene OTT C
179 Rasmus Dahlin BUF D
180 Anders Lee NYI LW
181 Patrick Marleau TOR C/LW
182 Mike Hoffman FLA LW/RW
183 Evgenii Dadonov FLA LW/RW
184 Kevin Fiala NSH LW/RW
185 Jeff Petry MTL D
186 Alex Galchenyuk ARI C/LW
187 Timo Meier SJ LW
188 Hampus Lindholm ANA D
189 Sami Vatanen NJ D
190 Bo Horvat VAN C
191 Nico Hischier NJ C
192 Jordan Staal CAR C
193 Brayden McNabb VGK D
194 David Backes BOS C/RW
195 Jonathan Toews CHI C
196 Dion Phaneuf LA D
197 Ondrej Kase ANA RW
198 Nolan Patrick PHI C
199 Radko Gudas PHI D
200 Ryan Pulock NYI D

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Fantasy: Updated Banger League Rankings (hits, blocks) – Top 200

Below are the top 200 skaters and goalies ranked in descending order based on their value in banger leagues. A typical banger league consists of the following categories:

Skaters Goalies
Goals Wins
Assists Goals-against average
Plus/minus Save percentage
Penalty minutes Shutouts
Power-play points
Shots on goal
Hits
Blocked shots

The key difference between a banger league and a standard league is the addition of hits and blocked shots. Though it may seem like a minor difference, the inclusion of those categories can greatly affect the value of players.

Rk. Player Team Pos.
1 Alex Ovechkin WSH LW
2 Connor McDavid EDM C
3 Brent Burns SJ D
4 Jamie Benn DAL C/LW
5 Sidney Crosby PIT C
6 Victor Hedman TB D
7 Erik Karlsson SJ D
8 Taylor Hall NJ LW
9 Evgeni Malkin PIT C
10 Blake Wheeler WPG C/RW
11 Dustin Byfuglien WPG D
12 Nathan MacKinnon COL C
13 Tyler Seguin DAL C
14 Drew Doughty LA D
15 Patrik Laine WPG RW
16 Nikita Kucherov TB RW
17 Brad Marchand BOS LW
18 Auston Matthews TOR C
19 P.K. Subban NSH D
20 Evander Kane SJ LW
21 John Tavares TOR C
22 Vincent Trocheck FLA C
23 Andrei Vasilevskiy TB G
24 Vladimir Tarasenko STL RW
25 Steven Stamkos TB C
26 Anze Kopitar LA C
27 Brayden Schenn STL C
28 John Carlson WSH D
29 Roman Josi NSH D
30 Connor Hellebuyck WPG G
31 Sergei Bobrovsky CLB G
32 Seth Jones CLB D
33 Rasmus Ristolainen BUF D
34 Filip Forsberg NSH LW
35 Dustin Brown LA RW
36 Pekka Rinne NSH G
37 Tom Wilson WSH RW
38 Mark Scheifele WPG C
39 Jack Eichel BUF C
40 Evgeny Kuznetsov WSH C
41 Aleksander Barkov FLA C
42 Jonathan Quick LA G
43 Alex Pietrangelo STL D
44 Ivan Provorov PHI D
45 John Gibson ANA G
46 Matt Dumba MIN D
47 David Pastrnak BOS RW
48 Gabriel Landeskog COL LW
49 Patrick Kane CHI RW
50 Ryan Getzlaf ANA C
51 Patrice Bergeron BOS C
52 Frederik Andersen TOR G
53 Wayne Simmonds PHI RW
54 Rickard Rakell ANA LW/RW
55 Shayne Gostisbehere PHI D
56 Jonathan Marchessault VGK C/LW
57 Artemi Panarin CLB LW
58 Marc-Andre Fleury VGK G
59 Martin Jones SJ G
60 Joe Pavelski SJ C/RW
61 Patric Hornqvist PIT RW
62 John Klingberg DAL D
63 Claude Giroux PHI C/LW
64 Brock Boeser VAN RW
65 Kyle Palmieri NJ RW
66 Alexander Radulov DAL RW
67 Leon Draisaitl EDM C/RW
68 Oliver Ekman-Larsson ARI D
69 Matthew Tkachuk CGY LW
70 Braden Holtby WSH G
71 Phil Kessel PIT RW
72 Devan Dubnyk MIN G
73 J.T. Miller TB C/RW
74 Max Pacioretty VGK LW
75 Jakub Voracek PHI RW
76 William Karlsson VGK C/LW
77 Tuukka Rask BOS G
78 Kris Letang PIT D
79 Mark Giordano CGY D
80 Jeff Carter LA C
81 Matt Murray PIT G
82 Dougie Hamilton CAR D
83 Darnell Nurse EDM D
84 Johnny Gaudreau CGY LW
85 Mathew Barzal NYI C
86 Ben Bishop DAL G
87 Sean Couturier PHI C
88 Mitch Marner TOR RW
89 Ryan Ellis NSH D
90 Jake Muzzin LA D
91 Corey Crawford CHI G
92 Carey Price MTL G
93 Torey Krug BOS D
94 Josh Anderson CLB RW
95 Ryan Suter MIN D
96 Colton Parayko STL D
97 Mike Smith CGY G
98 Mikko Rantanen COL RW
99 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins EDM C/LW
100 Aaron Ekblad FLA D
101 Josh Manson ANA D
102 Victor Arvidsson NSH RW
103 Jason Zucker MIN LW/RW
104 Boone Jenner CLB C/LW
105 Logan Couture SJ C/LW
106 Brayden Point TB C
107 Chris Kreider NYR LW
108 Mark Stone OTT RW
109 Mika Zibanejad NYR C
110 Antti Raanta ARI G
111 Milan Lucic EDM LW
112 Tyler Toffoli LA RW
113 Travis Konecny PHI LW/RW
114 Charlie McAvoy BOS D
115 Justin Faulk CAR D
116 Sean Monahan CGY C
117 Brandon Montour ANA D
118 Tomas Hertl SJ C/LW/RW
119 Jacob Trouba WPG D
120 Eric Staal MIN C
121 Nikolaj Ehlers WPG LW/RW
122 Sebastian Aho CAR C/LW
123 Colin Miller VGK D
124 Ryan O'Reilly STL C
125 Cam Talbot EDM G
126 Jake Allen STL G
127 Roberto Luongo FLA G
128 Jake Guentzel PIT LW
129 Jaden Schwartz STL LW
130 Mikael Granlund MIN C/RW
131 Jeff Skinner BUF LW
132 Carter Hutton BUF G
133 Shea Weber MTL D
134 Andrei Svechnikov CAR RW
135 Ilya Kovalchuk LA LW/RW
136 Alex Edler VAN D
137 Nikita Zadorov COL D
138 James van Riemsdyk PHI LW
139 Reilly Smith VGK LW/RW
140 Nazem Kadri TOR C
141 Nicklas Backstrom WSH C
142 William Nylander TOR C/RW
143 Ryan Johansen NSH C
144 Semyon Varlamov COL G
145 Phlipp Grubauer COL G
146 Erik Johnson COL D
147 Adam Larsson EDM D
148 Tyson Barrie COL D
149 Morgan Rielly TOR D
150 Ryan McDonagh TB D
151 Anthony Mantha DET LW/RW
152 Henrik Lundqvist NYR G
153 Alex DeBrincat CHI LW/RW
154 Clayton Keller ARI LW/RW
155 Elias Pettersson VAN C
156 Cory Schneider NJ G
157 Mikhail Sergachev TB D
158 Nino Niederreiter MIN LW/RW
159 Pierre-Luc Dubois CLB C/LW
160 T.J. Oshie WSH RW
161 Corey Perry ANA RW
162 Eeli Tolvanen NSH RW
163 Robin Lehner NYI G
164 Nick Foligno CLB C/RW
165 Bryan Little WPG C
166 Ondrej Palat TB LW
167 David Perron STL LW
168 Jake Gardiner TOR D
169 Juuse Saros NSH G
170 James Reimer FLA G
171 Cam Atkinson CLB RW
172 Nick Bjugstad FLA C/RW
173 Filip Zadina DET LW
174 Kevin Shattenkirk NYR D
175 Michael Del Zotto VAN D
176 Teuvo Teravainen CAR LW/RW
177 Ty Rattie EDM RW
178 Matt Duchene OTT C
179 Rasmus Dahlin BUF D
180 Anders Lee NYI LW
181 Patrick Marleau TOR C/LW
182 Mike Hoffman FLA LW/RW
183 Evgenii Dadonov FLA LW/RW
184 Kevin Fiala NSH LW/RW
185 Jeff Petry MTL D
186 Alex Galchenyuk ARI C/LW
187 Timo Meier SJ LW
188 Hampus Lindholm ANA D
189 Sami Vatanen NJ D
190 Bo Horvat VAN C
191 Nico Hischier NJ C
192 Jordan Staal CAR C
193 Brayden McNabb VGK D
194 David Backes BOS C/RW
195 Jonathan Toews CHI C
196 Dion Phaneuf LA D
197 Ondrej Kase ANA RW
198 Nolan Patrick PHI C
199 Radko Gudas PHI D
200 Ryan Pulock NYI D

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Blues’ Fabbri’s injury not related to surgically-repaired knee

The St. Louis Blues may have avoided a scare.

Forward Robby Fabbri left Sunday's preseason game against the Columbus Blue Jackets with a lower-body injury, but head coach Mike Yeo confirmed the ailment isn't related to his surgically-repaired knee.

Fabbri suffered a torn ACL toward the end of the 2016-17 season and re-injured the knee last September, causing him to miss the entire 2017-18 campaign.

In 123 career games, Fabbri, a first-round pick in 2014, has recorded 29 goals and 66 points.

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Senators providing financial support for those affected by Ottawa tornadoes

After two tornadoes twisted through the Ottawa, Ontario, and Gatineau, Quebec region on Friday evening, the Ottawa Senators are looking to help the victims of the natural disaster.

The Senators Foundation has started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for those affected by the tornadoes, the team announced. The starting goal is set at $25,000, and the Sens Foundation will match that total once it has been reached. As of Saturday night, it is already less than $5,000 away from reaching that mark.

The devastating tragedy left more than 100,000 homes and businesses without power, and it may take days before it's restored, according to the Ottawa Citizen. Twenty people were taken to hospital, but there have been no reports of fatalities or missing people.

Winds reached as high as 250 km/h (155 mph), destroying numerous homes, buildings, and hydro poles in its path.

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Devils lock up Miles Wood with 4-year deal

The New Jersey Devils re-signed restricted free-agent forward Miles Wood to a four-year contract, the team announced Saturday.

The deal reportedly comes with an average annual value of $2.75 million, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

Wood was one of many young Devils to enjoy a breakout season in 2017-18, tallying 19 goals - good for fourth on the team - and 13 assists in 76 games.

The 23-year-old possesses a rare combination of speed, physicality, and a nose for the net, as he also recorded 75 hits and a team-leading 84 penalty minutes.

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Quenneville won’t rule out 1st-rounder Boqvist making Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville isn't ruling out the possibility of the club's No. 8 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, Adam Boqvist, making the team out of training camp.

"I'm not throwing that out of the realm of possibility," Quenneville told The Athletic's Mark Lazerus on Thursday.

Boqvist, a right-handed shooting defenseman, is just 18 years old and is listed at anywhere between 154 and 170 lbs. Having him on the team's opening-day lineup may seem premature, but he might be their best option.

Defenseman Gustav Forsling underwent offseason wrist surgery and isn't expected back until mid-November. Meanwhile, fellow blue-liner Connor Murphy is expected to miss at least the first month of the season with a back injury.

Here's how Daily Faceoff projects the Blackhawks' blue line:

LD RD
Duncan Keith Henri Jokiharju
Erik Gustafsson Brent Seabrook
Brandon Manning Jan Rutta

If Boqvist wins a job out of camp, Chicago could play him for up to nine games before burning a year off his entry-level contract. In theory, this nine-game audition could provide the team with depth on the blue line while Forsling and Murphy recover from their injuries.

Boqvist played overseas in Sweden for his draft year, but would join the OHL's London Knights for the 2018-19 campaign if he doesn't make the Blackhawks.

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Maple Leafs to use both Matthews, Tavares in loaded power-play unit

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock will seemingly take a different approach to his power play this season.

Auston Matthews will join a stacked top unit featuring Morgan Rielly, Mitch Marner, Nazem Kadri, and John Tavares, reports TSN's Mark Masters.

For the past two seasons, Matthews was relegated to second power-play unit duties, while Rielly, Marner, and Kadri were joined by departed forwards Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk.

Matthews doesn't believe loading up so heavily on one unit will be problematic.

"Look at Pittsburgh's power play," he said to reporters. "They do pretty well for themselves."

The Penguins' power play, which features Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel, operated at a league-best 26.2 percent last season. Toronto was second at 24.9 percent.

As for the positioning, Rielly will patrol the top of the umbrella, flanked by Marner to his right and Matthews to his left, according to Masters. Kadri will man the middle while Tavares serves as the net-front presence - a role he told Babcock he wanted to play during the free-agency recruitment process.

Tavares doesn't have a lot of experience filling the net-front spot, but he did rack up 30 points with the man advantage last season - a mark that would've led the Maple Leafs.

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Luongo calls Domi’s punch on Ekblad ‘gutless’

The NHL regular season doesn't begin for another two weeks and there's already bad blood between two divisional foes.

During Wednesday's preseason meeting between the Florida Panthers and Montreal Canadiens, Max Domi was ejected for sucker-punching Aaron Ekblad.

Panthers veteran netminder Roberto Luongo took no time sharing his feelings on the play.

"It was a bit of a gutless play. You don't do those types of things," Luongo told reporters postgame, per Sportsnet. "I'm sure the league will look at it, and we definitely won't forget about it.

"You don't do that. You respect your opponents, and if your opponent doesn't want to engage in a fight, that's no reason to drop your glove and punch him square in the face for no reason."

The Canadiens and Panthers will play four times this season, but the first meeting isn't until Dec. 28 in Florida.

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Babcock believes Kapanen, Johnsson have ‘more to give’

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost several veteran forwards to free agency this offseason, and while John Tavares was brought in, the team will rely on younger players to fill out depth roles this year.

Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson will both be relied upon as lineup regulars for the 2018-19 campaign, but after Wednesday night's preseason game against the Ottawa Senators, head coach Mike Babcock wasn't very impressed with what he saw out of the two youngsters.

"They've got to be real important players for us, so I expect a lot out of those guys," Babcock said, according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston. "They've got more to give, for sure."

Kapanen and Johnsson were held without a point Wednesday and combined for just two shots. Both forwards played pivotal roles for the Maple Leafs down the stretch last season.

After registering 24 points in 28 games with the AHL's Toronto Marlies last year, the 22-year-old Kapanen suited up in 38 games with the big club, tallying seven goals and two assists.

Johnsson, 23, also tore up the AHL, racking up 54 points in as many games before his call-up, during which he recorded three points in nine games and added two more in six postseason contests.

Daily Faceoff projects the two wingers will flank Nazem Kadri on Toronto's third line, but it's possible more ice time will be in the forecast if William Nylander's contract holdout continues into the season.

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