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Nikita Soshnikov to report to the Marlies on a conditioning loan

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Two weeks after it was first brought up, the Leafs send off Nikita Soshnikov to get ready to play again.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Toronto Maple Leafs Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

And here we are again talking Nikita Soshnikov and conditioning loan. There are two kinds, one lasting 14 days for players not on IR — that is, players that count towards the 23-man roster — and one for players coming off of a longer injury who remain on IR while on the loan.

Since this was first discussed a couple of weeks ago when Soshnikov popped up at practice and then disappeared again, I’ll merely copy what I said then:

The conditioning loan they are talking about here is this one:

13.9 Bona Fide Long-Term Injury/Illness Exception Conditioning Loan.

A Player who is on the Bona Fide Long-Term Injury/Illness Exception as set forth in Article 50 may, with his consent, during the term of such Bona Fide Long-Term Injury/Illness Exception (but in no event during the first fourteen (14) calendar days and six (6) NHL Games), be Loaned on a Conditioning Loan (the “Bona Fide Long-Term Injury/Illness Exception Conditioning Loan”) for a period not to exceed up to the longer of six (6) days and three (3) games, solely for the purpose of determining whether the Player is fit to play. If the Club determines that it needs more time to assess the Player’s fitness to play, the Club may file a written request with the Commissioner’s Office, with a copy to the NHLPA, in accordance with Exhibit 3 hereof, to extend the Loan for an additional two (2) games. The Commissioner, upon good cause, may approve the one-time extension. The Commissioner’s approval shall not be unreasonably withheld. A Player on a Bona Fide Long-Term Injury/Illness Exception Conditioning Loan will continue to be listed on Injured Reserve and will not count against the Club’s 23-man roster limit.

This kind of loan does not add the player back onto the active roster — he stays on IR. And it also does not require the player to have been on LTIR for the purposes of cap relief. The Leafs have no need to do that, so even though they could have placed both Soshnikov and Nikita Zaitsev on LTIR for the term of their injuries, they didn’t.

This conditioning loan was used for Josh Leivo last year. And that linked post contains the full CBA section which details the ways in which the Commissioner can investigate if he feels this is some kind of roster limit or waiver circumvention.

The other kind of conditioning loan, one famously used by Frank Corrado that had everyone shouting (incorrectly) about “Loupholes” lasts for 14 days, but the player remains on the 23-man roster. The only way this could be used for Soshnikov is if the Leafs remove someone from the roster by loan or by placing them on IR to make room for Soshnikov to come off of IR.

This doesn’t seem to be about to happen, so it’s the shorter loan which runs to February 10 (the day after the third Marlies game), and doesn’t really solve the Leafs exploding roster problem. Even if they get the two-game extension, that only adds two calendar days to the loan, since the Marlies play games on the 10th and 11th.

Assuming all the sick people are better by then, and Morgan Rielly is ready to come back as well, even with a return of Justin Holl to the Marlies, the Leafs would have 24 men even before they add in Soshnikov, making 25.

Two players would have to come off the roster from that date until February 26. This move just kicks that can down the road a little.