The Maple Leafs are hoping to have defenseman Jake Muzzin back in the lineup in their first game following the All-Star break, notes Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun. He’s working his way back from a broken foot that has caused him to miss the last nine games and is expected to skate through the break. He’s well past the minimum required number of days on LTIR so he’ll be eligible to be activated as soon as he’s ready. If that does indeed happen, that will certainly lessen the short-term urgency to try to bring in another defenseman with Morgan Reilly on LTIR and out for the better part of the next two months.
More from the East:
- Blue Jackets winger Nathan Gerbe has withdrawn from the upcoming AHL All-Star game, notes Aaron Portzline of The Athletic (Twitter link). This is noteworthy as it suggests that Columbus is planning to keep him up for the foreseeable future. It’s worth mentioning that Gerbe has already played in 12 games since his recall which means that he will have to pass through waivers to make it back to the minors. Considering he has seven points in those contests, making it through unclaimed is far from a guarantee.
- Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin has selected which game he will sit out under suspension as a result of skipping the NHL All-Star game, reports Samantha Pell of the Washington Post. He has chosen to miss their first game after the break against Montreal, a reasonable decision considering their final game before it is against the Islanders, a division rival.
- Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson is close to returning, notes Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. He has been out for the last month due to a broken nose but has been skating regularly and taking part in practice. Detroit has kept him on the active roster this whole time so no corresponding move will be required when he gets the green light.