The Toronto Maple Leafs waived four players on Wednesday afternoon in order to get closer to their final roster, while defenseman Mike Kostka continues to impress
The intention is for the players to clear waivers on Thursday afternoon in order to join the team's American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.
All NHL teams are required to have their final rosters set by 3 p.m., ET on Friday afternoon. That means that any players that a club hopes to have available in the AHL will have to be waived by Thursday at noon to clear waivers on Friday.
It is expected that the Maple Leafs will carry 23 players into Saturday's regular season opener.
One of the players who might earn one of those spots is defenseman Mike Kostka. With his stock rising thanks to an impressive season with the Marlies, the 27-year-old blue liner registered the second most points amongst AHL defenseman this year (28 points in 29 games).
As an undrafted free agent out of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Kostka had only one NHL offer. Now, he has a chance to earn a spot on the Leafs.
While he has never been given a shot at the NHL, Kostka is motivated to earn it, via TSN:
"For me it's always been a matter of proving people wrong and basically having the mindset of not giving anyone an opportunity to not give me a chance. I haven't been given my opportunity at the next level yet and I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure that I do."