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Maple Leafs send Mikko Lehtonen back to Jokerit

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The KHL season is about to start, but the status of games in Finland is a little hazy still.

Kontinental Hockey League: Ak Bars Kazan vs Jokerit Helsinki Photo by Yegor Aleyev\TASS via Getty Images

Maple Leafs PR announced today that newly signed defender Mikko Lehtonen is being loaned back to the KHL team Jokerit for the start of their season.

(posted for the photo)

He will be available for recall whenever the Leafs want him back.

The KHL executives had their meeting a few days ago, and are due to release their 2020-2021 schedule soon. They have been playing preseason games for several days now, and the season is expected to start in early September.

One of the outstanding issues is if Finland will allow games to be played in a format the KHL agrees with:

Lehtonen has played one KHL season, his most recent, and was a big success for Jokerit. Kyle Dubas had previously said the Leafs would be happy to loan European players back to their home clubs to allow them to get playing sooner than the NHL/AHL seasons will allow. There is no confirmation yet of the loan of Egor Korshkov to Lokomotiv, but it has been widely reported.