The Toronto Maple Leafs have officially activated Mitch Marner from long-term injured reserve, sending Martin Marincin and Nic Petan to the minor leagues in the process. Marner has been out for several weeks with a high-ankle sprain but is expected to be back in the lineup tonight against the Colorado Avalanche. The team has also activated Mason Marchment from season-opening injured reserve and sent him to the AHL.
Marner has yet to play a game for new head coach Sheldon Keefe, but he’ll get the chance to try out the Maple Leafs’ new puck possession system tonight as the team tries to right the ship. Coming off a 6-1 pounding at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto now sits 13-12-4 on the season and in a very precarious position.
Because of the huge cap number that the young forward brings, Trevor Moore has likely been moved to long-term injured reserve to clear a bit more and keep the Maple Leafs at 21 players for the time being. When he returns, the team will have to send another forward down to the minor leagues or make a trade of some sort.
Even with that kind of cap pressure, Marner’s return will be a huge boost to the group. After scoring 94 points last season to lead the club, he was off to another strong start with 18 in his first 18 games. While he’ll be back beside John Tavares tonight, it appears as though Ilya Mikheyev has taken the place of Zach Hyman on the left side despite that trio’s strong work last season.