Today, the Leafs have moved Martin Marincin and Pontus Aberg onto the Marlies roster. They already made roster space for Trevor Moore by moving Nic Petan to the Marlies, and Petan already played in an AHL game yesterday. These two moves aren’t about cap space or roster space.

To send a player to the AHL at this time of the year, you have to do it before December 19, and that might be why Aberg is going down now. He might not be recalled, but Marincin is a different story.

Tyson Barrie left last night’s Leafs game with an injury, and there is no current update on his condition. But if he is unable to play, the Leafs will have to call up a defender. Even if Barrie is able to play, Marincin has been serving as the only extra defender on the roster for this road trip, and the Leafs may wish to continue to have an extra for practices if not games. He could stand to get in a game, however, considering he last played in the NHL on November 2.

The reason these players are being sent down now, after December 11, is that players recalled to the NHL after December 11 are eligible to be loaned back to the AHL after the roster freeze takes effect on December 19. These might be nothing more than paper transactions to make that possible.

For the next four days, any player recalled can be returned to the Marlies during the roster freeze, such as when the Leafs go on their Christmas break after their game on December 23.

The Marlies play today at home at 4 p.m., roster yet to be announced, and then they play one road game in Belleville on Saturday. They don’t play again until Boxing Day. The Leafs have three games this week, one a quick trip to New York to play the Rangers, and then they are right back at home to face the Red Wings. They play the Carolina Hurricanes at home on December 23 in an afternoon game.