Garret Sparks has been returned to the Toronto Marlies after backing up Curtis McElhinney on Tuesday night. The Maple Leafs will welcome Frederik Andersen back into the lineup when they take on the Nashville Predators tomorrow night, though whether he starts or not is still up in the air. Sparks hasn’t played a single game for the Maple Leafs this season after taking the starting job down the stretch last year. He’s faced injury and a suspension earlier this year for “violent and sexist language toward a user in an online group.”
A seventh-round pick of the Maple Leafs in 2011, Sparks has battled his way up the depth chart in Toronto and now sits as the starter for the Marlies as they head into the playoffs. With McElhinney hitting the open market as a free agent this summer, it is possible that Sparks would be first in line for the backup job next season.
- After spending the past month playing five or six minutes a game for the Vancouver Canucks, the team has decided to send Joseph Labate back to the AHL. The huge winger has played just thirteen games for the Canucks this season, scoring zero points and registering 21 penalty minutes. A fourth-round pick in 2011, Labate hasn’t quite turned into the power forward they’d hoped, and is barely qualified for fourth line duty at this point.
- The Minnesota Wild have made the signing of Justin Kloos official, inking him to a two-year deal starting in 2017-18. He’ll report to Iowa on an amateur tryout for the rest of the season. Iowa could actually still make the playoffs, as despite their 31-28-8 record this season they trail the Cleveland Monsters by only three points for the final spot in the Central Division. With nine games remaining, Kloos will try to make his impact felt immediately at the professional level.