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Mikko Lehtonen released from Jokerit loan

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The Leafs defender is now free to come to Toronto (after all, Russia already gave him COVID-19 as a parting gift).

Kontinental Hockey League: Admiral Vladivostok vs Jokerit Helsinki
Antti Niemi checks in on Lehtonen’s defending in a KHL game from last season.
Photo by Yuri Smityuk\TASS via Getty Images

Mikko Lehtonen, signed by Toronto in the offseason and loaned back to Jokerit when this season was delayed, has been recalled by Toronto.

This is the first serious sign that a new season of NHL might actually involve a training camp soon. There have been reports that many European loans of NHL and AHL players had a November 15 end date and there has been a few players leave their teams, but it’s hardly been a stampede.

The partial KHL season has not be smooth for Jokerit (who play in Helsinki, Finland) or for Lehtonen personally. He’s already had the “went to Russia and all I got was this virus” experience, as have quite a few members of his team.

As far as we know, the Maple Leafs training facility is open to players under the pre-training-camp protocols announced weeks ago. So maybe if the Leafs really believe an NHL season can happen at the peak of the second wave of a global pandemic, they should recall all their loans.

Joe Thornton: Currently in quarantine in Davos as several unnamed members of the team have tested positive

Mac Hollowell: Three points in three games in the Mestis in Finland. He either needs an AHL camp or a loan up to a Liiga team.

Kristians Rubins: Playing in Frederikshavn in the Danish league.

Filip Král: On loan to the Czech second division league where he was obviously way too good, scoring like a forward from the blueline, he’s missed games as the league was shut down for a time, but now he’s been loaned up a level to a first division team.

Semyon Der-Arguchintsev: On loan to Torpedo in the KHL, he got a late start, and has only played in six games.

Denis Malgin: On loan to a Swiss club, where his is over a point per game and doing well.

Filip Hållander: On a full season loan to the SHL, he could be called back for training camp, but likely not before then.

Yegor Korshkov: On what is believed to be a full season loan to Lokomotiv in the KHL. He’s already matched his best-ever KHL season for goals scored in only 25 games, and is nine points away from that mark too. He’s having his best year of hockey since last year on the Marlies, playing top line, succeeding at it, and it seems like a good idea to let him play it out. Except for the virus situation that is. Lokomotiv had an outbreak early in the season, but Korshkov didn’t miss games. He can drop the Y off his name and come back in May as long as everyone is comfortable with the virus risk.

Mikhail Abramov: Not really loaned like the rest of these prospects, as he’s still in junior hockey, but Abramov has played in only six QMJHL games so far as that league struggles with cancellations. He’s getting points at a high pace, and looks ready to go to an NHL camp. It’s just that it’s in the middle of his season this time. Maybe he should go anyway, though.