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Updated: Maple Leafs recall Kristiāns Rubīns, send him back

Time for a look at another young defender?

NHL: SEP 23 Preseason - Maple Leafs at Canadiens Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

*UPDATE:*

Nevermind.

Original story:

Kristiāns Rubīns, a free agent defender soon to turn 24, has been called up by the Maple Leafs. He is one of Kyle Dubas’s ECHL to NHL projects. Undrafted, the 6’4” defender was signed as a free agent to the Marlies and then to the Maple Leafs in the spring of 2020. He’s played 56 games for Newfoundland, and has been on the Marlies roster for the last three years.

For the Latvian national team Rubīns is a top pair defender, but on the Marlies he’s been slotted behind the other left-shooting, drafted prospects a lot of the time. He’s not a big offensive threat, but is also not what you usually think of when someone says undrafted defenceman and six-foot-four in the same sentence. He plays a good offensive support role, skates decently well, and absolutely can win a board battle on size alone. He has a good overall game, and hasn’t been coasting on that size as he’s had years to develop in pro hockey right out of the WHL.

In our Top 25 Rankings, voters have routinely put him either unranked or in the bottom five places. In the most recent edition, only two voters gave him a ranking. We haven’t seen him as more than a very good AHLer who plays a nice mix of the old-fashioned and modern defensive roles. He’s appeared in preseason games, where he’s been fine, but again, hasn’t really made a substantial case for NHL time.

This recall might just be for practice time, or it might be for a more serious look at a defender who is hard to judge — points tell you nothing.

For a good comprehensive look at him, try this article: