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Miro Aaltonen Returning To KHL For Next Season

The Marlies centre has elected to head back overseas.

Credit: Thomas Skrlj

After a year with the Toronto Marlies, Miro Aaltonen has decided to return to the KHL, Darren Dreger reports.

Aaltonen came to the Leafs a year ago, signed out of the KHL, after putting up 19G-25A-44P in 59 games for Vityaz Podolsk. He impressed with his offensive abilities and briefly seemed like a threat to win the big club’s fourth-line centre job, but Mike Babcock ultimately went with free agent veteran Dominic Moore, and Aaltonen wound up down with the Marlies. Aaltonen does not seem to have seriously entered into the Leafs’ plans for the 2017-18 season after camp.

Aaltonen did do solid work for the championship-winning Toronto Marlies, posting 43 points in 64 regular season games followed by 13 in 20 playoff games. He was a more offensive-minded centre than perhaps Mike Babcock wanted for the fourth line, although Babcock was complimentary towards his game. Ultimately, though, it’s hard to blame Aaltonen for going where he’s wanted, and considering he just turned 25, it seems unlikely he’ll be playing in North America again.

The move leaves the Leafs’ already-thin centre depth even thinner, with Par Lindholm currently third on the organizational chart if Patrick Marleau and William Nylander continue to play wing. It seems very likely Kyle Dubas will seek to address this with a centre acquisition of some kind, so stay tuned.

Thanks for your service, Miro. It may not have been the dream, but the championship ought to be worth something, right?

You know what he means: back to the KHL.