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Travis Dermott’s prognosis is very good

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Time is the cure, and the Leafs have enough players in the system to give him all he needs.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

After a foot injury suffered while blocking a shot in the last game, we’ve all been waiting for word on the tests conducted yesterday by the Leafs.

The Leafs came up with a creative solution to their defence pairs, given that their extra is a right-shot and Dermott has been playing left on the third pair.

The shuffling of all three right-shooters to the right side, and returning Ron Hainsey to his natural side, gives the Leafs have three pairs, none of which is great, and none of which is terrible. Given that they’ve officially locked into third place in the Atlantic, we should expect to see all six players rotate through with fairly even minutes.

What we likely won’t see is a callup from the Marlies. At least not yet. And if Dermott recovers quickly, perhaps not at all. The reason for that is the number of callups available and the number used.

This involves the CBA, so apologies in advance.

The Leafs have used three regular recalls from the AHL: Kaperi Kapanen, Travis Dermott and Andreas Johnsson.

To be allowed to use an emergency recall for a defender, they would need to have fewer than six healthy defencemen on the roster. The CBA does not care about handedness, ability or who you’d rather have.

The limit on regular recalls between the trade deadline and the end of the regular season is four, so there is one available. There’s a catch however. In the most recent CBA, the rule was changed to a very confusing “if this then that” structure. You read it:

(n) Following the conclusion of the Regular Season, no Player may be Recalled from Loan to a club of any league affiliated with the NHL, except that:

(i) a Club may exercise an unlimited number of additional regular Recalls, provided that it may have no more than three (3) Players on its Active Roster who were Recalled by way of regular Recall after the Trade Deadline. However, if a Club has Recalled four (4) Players pursuant to Section 13.12(l) above, such Club will instead be permitted to retain those four (4) Players on its Active Roster following the conclusion of the Regular Season.

(ii) Players may be Recalled under Article 13.12(m). [The emergency rules discussed above.]

(iii) Players may be Recalled upon completion of the regular season and playoff schedule of the club to which they were Loaned.

So, at issue is item (i). At first read it seems like it’s saying if you use all four of your recalls, then so sad, too bad, that’s all you get. If you use less than four, then after the regular season is over, you can call up anyone you want, no limit.

That seems capricious and nonsensical even for the CBA. While this is obviously a compromise written by unhappy lawyers, which the entire CBA is to some degree, it’s rarely impossible to divine the intent in a rule.

The deep confusion, as revealed by a high-level meeting of the PPP legal department, seems to lie in the use of “Active Roster” to describe the three recall case and “Recalled” to describe the four player case.

While I think the intent here is part of this CBA’s mandate to prevent NHL teams from stocking AHL teams with players — if, at the start of the playoffs, you can recall a whole fresh set of depth players equal to the ones you have on your roster all year, there goes parity. I still can’t quite decide if they mean you could recall four different players, but as long as only three of them are on the roster on the last day, you’re allowed to callup anyone you want, or if they mean, four callups wrecks your chance to fill the press box with black aces, even if you only used each guy for one game and sent him back.

Efforts to find a past case where the NHL team wanted to add players for their playoffs, their AHL team was still in the playoffs, and they’d used four callups collapsed under the weight of all the bad information there is out there about the CBA.

If the first read of the rule is correct, then there is absolutely no good reason for the Leafs to callup anyone from the Marlies unless it meets emergency conditions. The goalie rule is less than two, and the forward rule is less than 12, so unless there’s need for a goalie, the Marlies are staying put.

In any event, it does not sound like Dermott will be out for long, and he has over a week before the first playoff game.