In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs’ player moves, I’ll look at some of the changes the team is making to prepare to face the Winnipeg Jets tonight. I will also look at how these moves impact the team beyond this game.
Currently, the Maple Leafs have the following players out with injuries: Jake Muzzin (concussion), Ilya Lyubushkin (undisclosed), Justin Holl (undisclosed), Petr Mrazek (groin) Jack Campbell (ribs), Ondrej Kase (head), and Rasmus Sandin (knee). That’s a ton of injuries.
The game against the is a rematch of a contentious game where Jason Spezza put a hit on Neal Pionk on December 5. The Maple Leafs are coming off a costly, but great, win over the Boston Bruins. They are alone in third place in the Atlantic Division.
Player Move One: Filip Kral Is Called Up from the Toronto Marlies
Filip Kral is a 22-year-old, left-shot defenseman from the Czech Republic. He has been called up a couple of times from the AHL Toronto Marlies but has not yet had his NHL debut. With the injuries to defensemen, he’ll join the Maple Leafs’ roster under emergency conditions Wednesday. With the team missing a number of defensemen, Kral’s gotten the call.
While he’d like to make his NHL debut, he’ll likely be a healthy scratch tonight. However, it depends on whether Lyubushkin (undisclosed) or Holl (undisclosed) can’t play.
Player Move Two: Mac Hollowell Is Also Called Up from the Toronto Marlies
Mac Hollowell is a 23-year-old, right-shot defenseman from nearby Niagara Falls. Like Kral, he too was called up to the big club from AHL Marlies under emergency conditions yesterday. Again, he might or might not find NHL ice for the first time. It all depends upon the injury status of Lyubushkin and Holl. It’s hard to say if Hollowell will be part of the lineup or if he’s just with the team as insurance and defensive depth.
Player Move Three: Goalie Michael Hutchinson Is Called Up from the Marlies
Veteran goalie Michael Hutchinson was called up from the Marlies yesterday. He’ll likely serve as Erik Kallgren’s backup until Jack Campbell’s ribs are healed enough to allow him to return to the net. Hutchinson was needed after Petr Mrazek left Tuesday’s game with his groin injury.
Player Move Four: Ondrej Kase Wa Placed on LTIR
It’s no fun to report that concussion-prone Ondrej Kase seems to have suffered another tough concussion. He’s not able to play for a while and was placed on the long-term injured reserve (LTIR). Because Kase’s concussion came during the March 19 Nashville Predators’ game, if he’s close to being healthy, he’s already missed almost half of the minimum time needed with an LTIR designation.
Kase would be eligible to return for the April 12th game versus the Buffalo Sabres. For now, the Czech winger is considered out indefinitely. Because Kase has a history of concussions, the Maple Leafs will very cautious about his health and his recovery.
At some point, continuing to play hockey can’t be more important than a player’s health.
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