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Leafs open pre-season vs. Canadiens, sign prospect Villeneuve

September 25, 2021, 5:24 PM ET [224 Comments]
Mike Augello
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The Toronto Maple Leafs open their six game exhibition schedule where their playoff run ended four months ago, at Scotiabank Arena against the archrival Montreal Canadiens. The contest has nearly nothing on the line compared to the deciding game of the first round series, but marks the first of nine straight games against their Atlantic Division rivals in the Eastern time zone.



The contest marks the first time team captain John Tavares will play since being knocked out of Game 1 of the playoffs by Corey Perry.

Based on the line combinations used at Ford Performance Centre on Friday, Tavares will likely skate between new addition Michael Bunting and tryout candidate Josh Ho-Sang, while usual linemate William Nylander skated with Alex Kerfoot and Ilya Mikheyev.

Michael Hutchinson will be the likely starter, with Ian Scott potentially splitting duty.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs announced on Saturday the signing of defenseman William Villeneuve to a three-year entry-level contract. The 19-year-old scored 20 points (3 goal, 17 assists) in 33 games for the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs last season.



The Sherbrooke, Quebec native was selected in the fourth round (122nd overall) in 2020 after scoring with 58 points (9 goals, 49 assists) in 64 games and being nominated for the league’s top blueliner of the year.



The 6’1”, 180 lb. defenseman has decent skills, but it is uncertain whether he can rise to the level of being an effective NHL offensive defenseman. Villeneuve has good creativity, is a excellent passer and elusiveness, but an average shot from the point.


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