The Leafs officially take to the ice on Thursday for the first time as a team, though they have been split into two groups, with Group 1 skating at 10:00 am and Group 2 skating at 12:30pm.
In terms of how the split shakes out, many of the team's star players appear to have been assigned to Group 2. The big names skating with Group 1 include Auston Matthews
, Michael Bunting
, Morgan Rielly
, Alexander Kerfoot
, T.J. Brodie
and Ilya Samsonov
. Group 2 boasts the likes of Mitch Marner
, John Tavares
, William Nylander
, Mark Giordano
and Matt Murray
. Jake Muzzin
was originally slated to skate with Group 2, but has since been granted the week off to deal with some back discomfort.
Another interesting note is that most of the team's UFA signings have been assigned to Group 1, as Nicolas Aube-Kubel
, Jordie Benn
, Victor Mete
, Calle Jarnkrok
, Zach Aston-Reese and the aforementioned Samsonov are all skating at 10:00 am, while Adam Gaudette
saddles up with Group 2 at 12:30pm.
2022 Hobey Baker Award winner Dryden McKay was originally expected to skate with Group 2, which would have marked his official return from a six-month suspension for an accidental doping violation. As Leafs correspondent David Alter points out, that is no longer the case and McKay will not be on the ice today. Per reports, the NCAA standout took a COVID-19 prevention supplement that contained trace amounts of Ostarine - a banned substance that was not listed on the product's ingredients list.