Yesterday, while the Leafs hosted the Jets in Toronto, they added two players from the AHL Marlies to the Taxi Squad.
The Marlies are currently not playing due to a COVID-19 concern of unidentified type affecting an unidentified player, and Nick Robertson spent one day on the NHL’s COVID protocol list as a precaution, since he’d recently been at Marlies practices.
The two players recalled to the squad must have been cleared to make this move to the Leafs practices — the main purpose of the Taxi Squad is to have the players available to practice and go on road trips. The moves that left the Taxi Squad currently at the maximum of six are: Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren to the squad and Antti Suomela to the Marlies from the squad. Suomela has not cleared quarantine since the trade that brought him to the Leafs, of course.
The rest of the squad is:
- Veini Vehvilainen
- Joey Duszak
- Michael Hutchinson
- Martin Marincin
The NHL active roster, as constructed for the most recent game, is absolutely full with only $578,333 of LTIR pool left over. It includes 16 forwards and seven defenders as well as two goalies. Nick Foligno and Ben Hutton are already accounted for in that number, so no space needs to be created for their actual arrival off of quarantine. That is expected to be sometime in the upcoming road trip, however the schedule is in flux right now.
Frederik Andersen and Riley Nash are also on the NHL roster, but on LTIR, producing the space for all those extra skaters. To add any defender on top of the seven already there, the Leafs would need to cull out some extra forwards to the squad.
Rasmus Sandin has not played since February 16 and he has two games played this season, that one in the AHL and one a few days previously in the NHL. He has not been practising with the Marlies regularly, so he is only just returning to the ice. It would be wrong to expect him to jump into the NHL right away.
At this point, it looks like these players might join the Leafs on their road trip, whenever that happens, but the roster is about to get more crowded at defence, not less, so it will be very interesting to see how soon Sandin adds another game to his season’s total.
Now that Frederik Andersen has been seen on the ice, and likely will go on the road trip, the question of can he be reactivated needs to be answered. The short answer is yes, the long answer is it requires a lot of moves:
This bare bones roster just fits with no extra skaters, and even David Rittich on the Taxi Squad. I’ve also added Dermott, Robertson and Engvall to make this work. Some reasonably highly paid forward has to get pressboxed to make this possible with that defence group. If Bogosian is removed and Dermott returned, it is possible to fit Engvall in over Thornton.
Note: all of the players potentially moved to the Taxi Squad or the AHL off of the current NHL roster in this scenario would have to clear waivers except Robertson. Players on the Taxi Squad can be simply moved to the AHL at will. None of the potential cuts from the NHL roster have term beyond this season making waiver claims pointless for almost all of them. However, Travis Dermott expires as an RFA, making risking him on waivers a real risk since a claiming team would then have him under team control and would be taking him to arbitration as a player waived by the Leafs. *Correction: this is also true for Engvall, who has one more year of term and then expires as an RFA. It would be a bold move to grab a guy in those circumstances, but you never know.
This is a theoretically possible roster that would not likely be used for very many games, but at least allows the Leafs to play Andersen before the playoffs if possible.
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