The debut of Olli Jokinen took place at Air Canada Centre under the watchful eyes of 19,000-plus fans and another 18 especially keen observers.
As per Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star, 19 NHL scouts were on hand to watch the Leafs drop a 3-2 decision to the Florida Panthers. Five of those accredited for the game were there on behalf of the MontrealCanadiens, including general manager Marc Bergevin.
Habs have seats for 5 scouts incl. Bergevin. 19 scouts in all accredited for #Leafs game pic.twitter.com/D8UrAoGtPc
Jokinen is one of a handful of Leafs players expected to be available as the Mar. 2 tradedeadline approaches and apparently there is mutual interest.
The 36-year-old, traded to the Leafs after a falling out with the Nashville Predators, didn’t exactly overwhelm his suitors, but whether that actually has an impact on his trade value is anyone’s guess.
Playing at his natural position of centre, Jokinen logged just 10 minutes of ice time and registered one shot on goal.
But Jokinen was slightly out of position when his namesake Jussi Jokinen tied the game up for the Panthers in the first period.
No-go in Nashville
The debuts of Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli in Nashville uniforms will have to wait.
Acquired in a trade with Toronto on Sunday, the pair reportedly missed the game with the visiting San JoseSharks due to visa issues.
However, the Predators didn’t seem phased by their absences as they dusted aside the Sharks 5-1 and continue their reign at the top of the Central Division and NHL standings with 84 points.
More than a little bit of credit is due to goaltender Pikka Rinne who stood on his head to make a series of five saves early in the middle frame.
The 25-year-old native of Victoria, B.C. tallied his first career hat trick in a 4-1 victoryover the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, which also means Benn has found the net six times in his last four games.
On Saturday, the Stars announced that their leading scoring Tyler Seguin would miss three to six weeks after being clipped by Dmitry Kulikov of the Panthers a night earlier, so they can only hope that this is the beginning of a hot streak for Benn.
In 57 games this season, Benn has scored 22 goals and is makingsome inroads on the career-best 34 he netted in 2013-14.