As expected, star forward Mitch Marner is returning to the Leafs and should be available for tonight’s game against the Colorado Avalanche.

Marner has been out with a high ankle sprain suffered November 9, 2019. Quite a bit has happened since then, including a demoralizing losing skid and a subsequent change in head coach. Marner accompanied the team on their recent road trip and seems to have recovered very quickly; this was the earliest day he could come back, given that the Leafs placed him on Long Term Injured Reserve.

Needless to say, this makes the Leafs a lot better. Excepting depth forward Trevor Moore, they will finally have something like a healthy roster. Hopefully it leads to a better result than last night’s late collapse against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Defender Martin Marincin and forward Nic Petan, casualties of the cap crunch, were both sent down to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. Marner’s full salary leaves the Leafs limited room to carry any surplus players, a fact which also cost them centre Nick Shore earlier today. Even so, the Leafs would appear to be over the salary cap; the good people at Cap Friendly are inferring that Moore has been place on Long-Term Injured Reserve, thereby enabling the Leafs to still carry one spare forward.

As has been discussed on the site and elsewhere, if there are no other injuries when Moore comes back, one of Pierre Engvall, Jason Spezza, Frederik Gauthier, or Dmytro Timashov will have to go. Engvall has been impressive but remains waiver exempt, so I’d bet on it being him.

Mason Marchment, injured since training camp, was also activated and loaned to the Toronto Marlies.