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Maple Leafs Finally Decide: Nick Ritchie Put on Waivers Today

The Toronto Maple Leafs finally decide to put Nick Ritchie on waivers today. Why did they do that? What might happen next?

In a move that I had anticipated but still was a bit surprised the team made, Nick Ritchie was placed on waivers by the Toronto Maple Leafs. During the offseason, Ricthie was picked up as a UFA after the Boston Bruins didn’t re-sign him. He had scored 15 goals in 56 games with the Bruins, but couldn’t come anywhere close to that number with the Maple Leafs.

In fact, although he came to the team with a resume that included scoring more regularly, that’s not what the Maple Leafs got when Ritchie played. Ritchie did lead the team in hits on the season with 65, but he couldn’t hit the back of the net. And, in the end, his lack of scoring and his lack of speed made – at least for now – the Maple Leafs give up on him.

Related: Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs 4-2 Win over the Oilers

During Last Night’s Game, Ritchie Couldn’t Keep Up

Ritchie was back in the lineup on Wednesday when the Maple Leafs beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-2. However, he was noticeable on the Oilers’ first goal because it was his lack of speed on the defensive end that allowed Brendan Perlini to break free for a wrist shot goal.

Ritchie was a healthy scratch on Saturday. And, with the team coming back from COVID-19 – especially with the emergence of Ilya Mikheyev (who has scored three goals in three games since his return and has speed to burn), the writing seemed on the wall for Ritchie’s tenure with the team

What Happens Now to Ritchie?

It’s up in the air what happens next to Ritchie. Will another team pick him up? That’s possible, but other teams probably have similar salary-cap issues the Maple Leafs have.

Or, will Ritchie pass through waivers? If he does, the Maple Leafs will get the salary-cap relief they need to keep both young Swedish defensemen – Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren – playing regularly. That, in the long run, is good for the team’s future.

It might also be that the Maple Leafs will move Ritchie to the Toronto Marlies to allow him to get his game back and bring him up for the playoffs. During the playoffs, Ritchie’s size and physicality might prove very useful. The playoffs can be a vastly different game than the regular season.

Ricthie ended his tenure with the Maple Leafs with a single goal and seven assists (for eight points) in 30 games on the season.

Related: Maple Leafs’ Nick Ritchie? Lots of Questions, Not So Many Answers

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Jeffrey Christopher

    January 6, 2022 at 4:29 pm

    Or…if he clears, as is likely…he’ll be much more marketable with the Leafs withholding and/or taking some salary back

    • Old Prof

      January 8, 2022 at 2:36 pm

      Right now, the team might need him. Wouldn’t it be good if he started to score~~

  2. gfinale

    January 6, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    Leafs paid way too much for him. This guy almost never lifts his legs up off the ice to skate! Coasts all the time while everyone walks by him.’

  3. Old Prof

    January 6, 2022 at 7:28 pm

    He certainly couldn’t keep up last night

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