The Toronto Maple Leafs got some good news on the injury front, but bad news on the waiver wire on Monday, as the club takes on the Winnipeg Jets at Scotiabank Arena.
The MRI of Nick Robertson’s knee revealed an injury that will keep the rookie winger out at least four weeks, but Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe indicated that there was a fear that the injury was more severe.
“The results we got back we classify it as good news considering how it was looking, but he is going to miss some time,” Keefe said. “We figure it’s going to be at least four weeks.”
As expected, goaltender Aaron Dell was claimed off of waivers by the New Jersey Devils, who were looking for depth in net after the sudden retirement of Corey Crawford last week. Veteran Jason Spezza was also waived on Sunday but cleared after communicating through his agent that he would retire if another team claimed him.
The Leafs will go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen against the Jets, as Alexander Barabanov will sit and Mikko Lehtonen will make his NHL debut. The 27-year-old blueliner was signed by Toronto last May after winning the KHL’s top defenseman award and could end up in a bottom pairing rotation with Zach Bogosian and Travis Dermott when Toronto opts to play 12 forwards and only six defensemen.
“We wanted to give him last week to watch the games and be in more meetings, get a better feel for more things. We don’t want too much time to elapse before he gets in a game.” Keefe said. “In dressing seven defensemen, we’ll have to see how much he ends up playing.”
Keefe indicated that Lehtonen may replace TJ Brodie on the second power play, but the luxury of having seven D will allow Toronto to ease the Finnish defenseman into action in his first game in North America.
Frederik Andersen and Connor Hellebuyck will be between the pipes, and the Jets may not have the services of Patrik Laine after the winger left the morning skate early and in discomfort.
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