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Leafs recall Josh Leivo and make minor league transactions

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First snowfall, and you know what that means: bears flying north for the winter. Wait, is that right?

NHL: Preseason-Detroit Red Wings at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The person who makes up the nameplates for the stalls at the various Leafs practice facilities and arenas must be busy today. There are a lot of new names to be embossed on blue plastic like this one:

First up, as expected, Josh Leivo is done with his three plus two game conditioning stint with the Marlies. Saturday’s game was his fifth, so that means he played three and then a two-game extension had to have been granted by the league. Today the AHL lists him as recalled by Toronto. He had zero points, six PIM and 11 SOG in five games.

That leaves the Leafs, technically, with a roster of size 24, as they’ve had since Griffith was waived. (Karri Ramo and Brandon Prust are at most practices, but are not under contract.) Leivo has been on some form of injured reserve this whole time as he was injured in the preseason, so if the next step is to activate Leivo to the 23-man roster, than some corresponding move has to take place.

A brief internet theory surfaced that Nikita Soshnikov was destined to go as he was not on the Leafs official roster, but a quick trip in the Wayback Machine will show that he never was. They sometimes lag a little on these changes.

The move to make room for Leivo could be any one of a number of options, so while speculation is fun, and can give fans visions of Ben Smith moving to the Marlies, no one was placed on waivers today by the Leafs.

Meanwhile in the minor leagues, many, many creatures were stirring.

You will recall that the Orlando Solar Bears, the ECHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs, fired coach Anthony Noreen and replaced him with Drake Berehowsky. Their first move after that bombshell was a trade on November 18 of players under ECHL contract, sending Rylan Schwartz and Bryan Moore off for Chris Crane.

Schwartz played five games with the Marlies last year on a loan and scored one goal. Moore was acquired by the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds when Kyle Dubas was GM. He is a small, mobile scoring forward who had gone pointless in six games in Orlando. Crane is a Kelly Cup winning ECHL veteran at only 24 and more of a power forward.

Today’s moves are more extensive.

To the Solar Bears go Daniel Maggio and Mason Marchment. Maggio, infamous for various fights and hits in the AHL was signed this summer to an AHL contract and has not dressed for the Marlies. Marchment, a gritty forward just out of junior was pointless in three games last year and has not dressed for the team this season.

Coming north are a very interesting collection of players under contract to the Marlies who have spent the season down south so far.

Willie Corrin is a left-shooting defender out of the NCAA who has been pointless in three games for the Solar Bears.

T.J. Foster is a small scoring forward in his second year of pro hockey who put up 54 points for the Solar Bears last year. He has five points in 12 games, and as a left-shooting winger, he joins a team awash in similar players.

Ty Stanton is a left-shooting defender in his first year of pro hockey who has one assist in 10 games so far.

Chase Witala is a left-shooting scoring winger or centre in his first year of pro hockey after an impressive junior career that wasn’t enough to get him drafted. He has one point in three games for the Solar Bears, but was a standout in the Marlies pre-season play.

In a likely related move, defender Taylor Doherty has been released from his PTO with the organization. Correction: Doherty is under contract with the Solar Bears and is returning to them. He was on a PTO with the Marlies, and that has been cancelled. Apologies for the error.

The net gain for the Marlies in these moves is zero, as they shed four in various ways and added four from Orlando, but the moves look more like they are about giving the Solar Bears the team they believe they need to win in the ECHL than anything the Marlies require. The Marlies are still trying to find Dmytro Timashov and Trevor Moore some icetime with all the Leafs players on the roster taking up spots.

As for the Leafs and Leivo, we will find out in due time how the 24-man roster will shrink by one.