With the preseason kicking off tomorrow night against the Islanders, Gerard Gallant has reorganized the three groups, with the first two containing all the NHL potential players, and the third containing many of the remainder.
With the new groups comes some new assignments for the players. Most notably, the Kid Line has been broken up, with Kaapo Kakko shifting to the top line, and Alexis Lafreniere switching sides and pairing up with Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trochek. Sammy Blais ends up on a line with probably AHLers Jonny Brodzinski and CJ Smith, while Vitali Kravtsov and Jimmy Vesey.
Given Gallant has a good sense of how the Kid Line will look, it doesn’t hurt to see if he can find another combination that might work better for the top two lines. How long these lines remain together remain to be seen. With six preseason games to be played, it would not surprise to see the right wings shift again.
Gallant shared that tomorrow’s line-up will likely be drawn mostly from Group 1, with as much as 12 potential players from the starting line-up included. It’s a fairly high number, but seems to be keeping in line with Gallant’s plan to quickly come to a conclusion on the line-up, and move to a full set for the final couple of games.
Expect further cuts coming in the next couple of days as the team continues to come into focus.