Usually, the Toronto Maple Leafs wait until the last minute – or at least the same day – to make player moves prior to an approaching game. That said, because the team is on its way west to play the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, these player moves had to be made before the plane took off.
Hence, the player moves the Maple Leafs have made were done on Sunday rather than on Monday or even Tuesday morning. In this post, I’ll look at some of the moves the team has made before a four-game road trip that takes them to Alberta (Edmonton on Tuesday and then the Calgary Flames on Thursday), then to British Columbia (to play the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday), and then just a bit south to Washington state (to play the Seattle Kraken). The Kraken game on Sunday is the only back-to-back on the trip coming up.
Related: Maple Leafs’ Quick Hits: Mrazek, Kase & Mikheyev
Player Move #1: Kristians Rubins Moved Back to the Toronto Marlies
Kristians Rubins had played three games with the Maple Leafs, which included his NHL debut on December 7 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. During his time with the big team, he averaged almost 12 minutes per game and – generally – played well.
During his Maple Leafs audition, he didn’t score a point; however, that isn’t the expectation the team has for him. Instead, the hope is that he can utilize his size and length to keep opponents off the puck and impede their progress. For the most part, even counting some rookie mistakes, he did that. On Sunday, the Maple Leafs loaned Rubins back to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.
Rubins was called up to an injury replacement, and he accomplished that purpose. At the same time, he showed the team that he has potential. And, for an undrafted defenseman with size and speed, that’s not a bad thing at all.
Who knows what the team’s plans are for Rubins? He might rejoin the Maple Leafs’ roster after this upcoming road trip is completed; however, he also can use what he’s learned in his three games with the Maple Leafs to his advantage as he gains more experience in the AHL. This is likely not the season for his jump to prime time.
Player Move #2: Brett Seney Recalled by the Maple Leafs from the AHL
Brett Seney was waived on October 6 and has been in the AHL since that time. Yesterday, he was recalled by the Maple Leafs. Although Seney has NHL experience, he played his last NHL games for the New Jersey Devils in 2019-20 season.
It isn’t known yet if the 25-year-old Seney will actually get a chance to play with Toronto or if he’ll only serve as a depth option should someone be injured. I’m guessing it will be the latter and he’ll be a pressbox viewer on the upcoming four-game road trip. Thus far with the Marlies, Seney has scored 10 goals and added six assists (for 16 points) in 19 games.
Player Move #3: Carl Dahlstrom Has Been Called Up to the Maple Leafs
On Sunday, Carl Dahlstrom was recalled from the AHL and will be ready to play with the Maple Leafs if the team needs him. Similar to Seney, the 2019-20 season was the last time Dahlstrom played in the NHL. He played in 15 games with the Winnipeg Jets that season. With the Marlies this season, he’s registered four assists in 18 AHL games. For however long he’s with the team, he’ll likely be a depth option on defense.
Player (No) Move #4: Alex Steeves Stays on the Maple Leafs’ Roster
Because I was very interested in the status of both Rubins and Alex Steeves, I’ve been watching the media to see what will happen with Steeves. What I saw today was nothing – no news.
That suggests to me that Steeves, who was also called up from the Marlies with Rubins on December 7, will likely remain with the Maple Leafs as part of their roster moving west. At least, that’s what I assume.
If I hear differently, I note it over the next day or two.
Related: Four Takeaways from Maple Leafs’ 5-4 Win Over the Blackhawks
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