Happy Sunday, Leafs fans.
Today is a special October holiday in Toronto: the goalie is on LTIR day. As we learned yesterday, Matt Murray did something to some muscle in morning skate and is out for a month. That means LTIR, and that means the cap crunch can has been kicked down the road for another few weeks. Does this feel just like last year?
Will Erik Källgren already recalled, the LTIR pool has $3.9375 million in it per Cap Friendly on a roster of 20 players. The limit is still 23, but there’s more than enough room there to recall three right now. Even if Timothy Liljegren is healthy before Matt Murray, there’s plenty of space for all the needed players.
Ilya Samsonov will remain as starter and Källgren is going to get in some games. The California road trip has a back-to-back on October 29 and 30, so expect to see him then if not sooner. Four weeks is mid-November, and that’s a lot of games to play with no other goalie under contract other than a Dennis Hildeby in Sweden.
This has to be addressed. And yes, there are currently 50 SPCs on the books. But also to be considered is that the Leafs are short depth defenders as well.
Some kind of trade to address the tight contract issue and add another defender was likely before Saturday. There’s the opportunity to move out a forward — not a rostered forward at this point of the season — but there’s a lot of AHL bodies there and a lot of competition for ice time.
Possibilities: Kyle Clifford might want a chance if an NHL team wants him. Wayne Simmonds, who I expect to be recalled, could fit someone’s needs, and the Leafs are likely to ask for prayers to the goalie gods in return and nothing else. Adam Gaudette lost the race for a depth spot, but not by much, and teams looking for forechecking might be interested.
As for the goalie situation, right now the Leafs need an alternate number three. A new Källgren, and it’s entirely possible they have that in Dylan Ferguson on a PTO with the Marlies. If they have SPC room, they can put him on an NHL deal, and they’re set.
The whole point of signing Samsonov in the first place was insurance for the injured Murray. He was still on IR when they traded for him, after all. Was that a good idea? Time will tell.
In other news, just as the Leafs game started the NHL dropped the news about their Ian Cole investigation:
Full NHL announcement on Ian Cole pic.twitter.com/xavEFhhs5z— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 15, 2022
The NHLPA said this:
The NHLPA takes issue with the fact Ian Cole was suspended by #TBLightning before the NHL investigated the allegations against him: "Players should never be subject to suspension or discipline in response to unsubstantiated and anonymous accusations."— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 15, 2022
The NHL put themselves in the position of having to investigate this quickly when they suspended Cole. The NHLPA is making a non-controversial point any union would make in this situation. Meanwhile the London police are re-examining a case, reported by Rick Westhead, of a woman who reports she was discouraged by the police in 2018 from proceeding with a case in a sexual assault complaint. Many police forces in Canada and elsewhere have poor records of taking these complaints seriously or of successfully prosecuting them.
Unless someone with tangible information in the Cole case comes forward, there is unlikely to ever be anything else that can be done. To state what should be obvious: Twitter will not give identifying information to the NHL about the original posters location or identity.
We have to fix this. We do. Not the NHL. We shouldn’t even be asking the NHL to do what a criminal justice system systemically fails at. The NHL should be over there having a hard think about how often the young, rootless players new to their league feel they have the freedom to do whatever they choose and why they think that way. But they can’t CSI up criminal case out of a Tweet. No matter how much you want that to be true.
Until we demand that our democratically elected representatives reform the police and the courts, to make sexual assault training mandatory, to centre victimized people, to make reporting an assault less traumatic than experiencing it, then this will just go on and on.
In other hockey news:
The Marlies won their home opener 3-1 on goals from Nick Robertson, Alex Steeves and Adam Gaudette.
The 32 Thoughts segment on HNIC discussed Thérèse Brisson as a potential candidate to lead Hockey Canada. That organization passed some new bylaws to place more controls on the process of electing the board of directors, as part of the recommendations of the Cromwell report commissioned by Hockey Canada. Brisson is a former national team hockey player and currently is the CEO of Alpine Canada.
The Washington Capitals signed Sonny Milano and plan to waive him to put him in the AHL. I don’t actually get the love for this player. I noticed Victor Rask has signed in Switzerland, which is likely good for him. He’ll be a top player there.
And I’ll end with a shoutout to the people who expressed interest in writing for PPP. I took a little me time today, in between articles, and will get back on the horse to work on that on Monday.
I think Charlie the Yarn Croc is the only reason the Leafs won:
Ready for the Leafs game now I have my very own Yarn Croc. pic.twitter.com/E3GatqVP6j— Katya Knappe (@KatyaKnappe) October 15, 2022
Whoever that was who posted the picture in the GDT on Thursday, this is all your fault.
Have a great rest of the weekend, everyone.