Mitch Marner, injured in practice on the recent road trip in a collision with Jake Muzzin, and Rasmus Sandin, taken out by Neal Pionk in Winnipeg, will miss significant games as they are both injured.

Injured Reserve, which can mean IR which exempts the player from the roster limit or LTIR which exempts them from the salary cap, means both players will miss 10 to 24 days.

Marner, who has missed two games already is said by reporters to be out for a week or so. Sandin is expected to miss two to three weeks, but nothing official has been announced yet.

Meanwhile, both Ilya Mikheyev and Petr Mrázek are nearing a return to the lineup. If Sandin is on LTIR that opens up the room to keep Timothy Liljegren on the roster, but if Mitch Marner is not injured enough for the LTIR minimum of 10 games and 24 days, then his very large cap hit remains, and makes it difficult to fit Mikheyev back on the roster.

Once Marner is ready to play, the Leafs can simply send down their extra forwards and goalies and they’ll be just under the cap with one extra forward. Once Sandin is ready to come back, however, and barring other injuries, Liljegren will be cut.

This is all happening as the Holiday Roster Freeze draws near on December 19, but teams are allowed to make whatever moves are necessary during the freeze period in order to reinstate a player off of LTIR.

If everyone ends up healthy at once, the Leafs will only be able to run a 21-player roster, but so far the bad luck of injuries has made that unnecessary.

As for the callups, Alex Steeves will actually play, with Joey Anderson returned to the AHL, unless Mikheyev is ready. Alex Biega and Kristiāns Rubīns are both extras, but could see game action.

Steeves was a free agent signing last spring out of the NCAA. He was injured before training camp, but has made a very favourable impression on the Marlies with 12 points in 12 games so far. He is a centre or winger, and is the usual 5’11”. He’s turned out to be a great find out of the undrafted college ranks.

We’ll update you with the official word on the injury problems. And Jason Spezza’s fate will be revealed sometime this afternoon.


Not official yet.

With Marner much worse than originally rumoured, this means the cap situation is actually very simple. Three to four weeks is well within the limits where LTIR can be used, so with Marner on LTIR, not just IR, the Leafs are constrained only by the 23-player limit from now until his return to action.