There were a ton of story lines surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs last night and so for that reason you can be forgiven if you missed some of the smaller stories surrounding the team on the evening. One such story was the Toronto Maple Leafs debut of trade deadline acquisition Nicolas Petan from the Winnipeg Jets and what a debut it turned out to be.
Petan, who had not played in a single National Hockey League game for over 2 months and who had not scored in the NHL for over a year, made an immediate impact in his Leafs debut and did so in a very important game. The Leafs needed a big bounce back win after a beating at the hands of the Islanders in New York and Petan helped propel them over the Buffalo Sabres by finding the back of the Sabres net in his very first game as a Maple Leaf. You would think that given that performance he would get an extra long look in the line up, especially after just being acquired by Maple Leafs' general manager Kyle Dubas at the deadline, but that does not seem to be the case.
The Athletic's Jonas Siegel is now reporting that Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock has no intentions of giving Petan more time in the line up as a result of his performance. In fact in very Babcock like fashion it appears that Babcock will continue to stick with the tried and tested veteran in Tyler Ennis.
Only a short while after Petan’s debut, Mike Babcock said that Tyler Ennis would go right back into the lineup when the Leafs played in Calgary on Monday night, presumably replacing Petan.
It seems like Petan's performance last night in fact may have played very little role in influencing how Babcock will be using him moving forward. Comments made by Babcock ahead of the game against the Buffalo Sabres seemed to hint at the fact that he was only playing Petan as a favor to his scouting staff.
“I’m just putting him in,” Babcock said. “Obviously, our pro scouts saw something they wanted so we’re putting him in and giving him an opportunity.”
To be fair to Babcock here Petan was also on the ice for a goal against during the game so it was not like he had an entirely one sided performance. Additionally Petan is set to be an restricted free agent at the end of this current NHL season which could also mean that the Leafs intend to his him more next season, after they will inevitably have to make some changes to their group of forwards.