The Toronto Maple Leafs are dealing with several injuries at the moment, with Trevor Moore, Andreas Johnsson and Ilya Mikheyev all out up front. None of the trio have a clear return date at this point, which has led to the team bringing up several of their minor league forwards over the last few weeks. Mason Marchment was the latest recall, following Pierre Engvall and Adam Brooks who have now worked their way into the lineup.
One player who many may have thought would be among the first recalls is Jeremy Bracco, who finished the 2018-19 season as the second-highest scorer in the AHL. Bracco’s 79 points in 75 games trailed only Carter Verhaeghe, who is now a regular for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 22-year old Maple Leafs’ prospect hasn’t been given a look in the NHL yet however, partly because of the position his plays. Bracco is a right winger, the same side where Toronto already has Mitch Marner, William Nylander and Kasperi Kapanen locked into the top three lines.
That’s a tough group to crack, something that Bracco obviously understands. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet wrote yesterday in his 31 Thoughts column that the young forward has asked the organization to see if there is a better opportunity elsewhere. Friedman suggests that Dmytro Timashov and Ben Harpur have both also asked Toronto the same thing.
For Timashov especially, that may come as some surprise. The 23-year old made the Maple Leafs out of camp in surprise fashion and has played in 29 games this season for them. While he isn’t getting a ton of ice time playing on the fourth line, the fifth-round pick is at least in the NHL.
Harpur meanwhile is in a different situation. Included in the trade that sent Nikita Zaitsev and Connor Brown to the Ottawa Senators in the offseason, the 24-year old defenseman has played the entire year in the minor leagues with the Toronto Marlies. That demotion comes after seeing regular NHL minutes the last two seasons, playing 92 games for the Senators since the start of 2017-18.
Obviously, these three names don’t come with a ton of recognition around the league, but the Maple Leafs may not be willing to just give them away. Friedman ponders whether they could be part of a bigger deal, though Toronto will still have to deal with cap implications should they try to add anything to their NHL roster at the moment.