Babcock hints at first significant roster shake-up, veterans’ jobs in doubt
It looks like the first major change of the season is about to hit the Toronto roster. Mike Babcock was heralded as a coach who would shake things up for the Leafs, and now that the team has just one win in its first eight games, Babcock hinted he is about to do just that.
The biggest change seems like it will involve hockey journeyman Byron Froese and Leafs veteran Peter Holland. Froese is a long-time veteran of the ECHL and AHL after he was selected in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL Draft. He has two NHL games on his resume — both of which came with the Leafs this season.
Meanwhile, Peter Holland is in his third year with the Leafs, and Mike Babcock does not seem to be his biggest fan after questioning Holland's compete level multiple times. Because Froese and Holland are both centers, any time Froese spends in the lineup comes at the possible expense of Holland's ice time. Froese saw 16:06 of ice time on Monday while Holland was on the ice for just 12:02. The news did not get better for Holland following the loss to Arizona Monday night, as Babcock jumped to praise Froese.
“The positive in tonight's game to me is 56 [Froese's jersey number] — real simple,” Babcock told reporters after the game. “Just faceoffs alone and compete alone. You're going to be competitive if you're going to be here. That's it. It's that simple.”
The Leafs would have to put Holland on waivers to send him down to the AHL, but with the Leafs owning a 1-5-2 record, that move is getting more likely by the day.