While there is some risk with only carrying six defensemen on a long road trip, that’s what the Maple Leafs have decided to do as they announced (Twitter link) that they’ve recalled winger Kyle Clifford from AHL Toronto and he will be in the lineup tonight against Winnipeg. To make room for him on the active roster, blueliner Filip Kral has been sent back to the Marlies.
Clifford is in his second stint with the Maple Leafs after being acquired from St. Louis last season. He signed a two-year, one-way deal worth the NHL minimum in both seasons but cleared waivers at the beginning of training camp and has played in two AHL contests so far this season. His addition to the active roster gives Toronto 15 forwards up with the big club.
As for Kral, his NHL debut will have to wait a little longer. He was recalled back on Wednesday to serve as the extra defenseman following Jake Muzzin’s injury but didn’t see any game action. The 23-year-old had 18 points in 51 games with the Marlies last season.
Toronto begins a five-game Western road trip tonight with Muzzin, Timothy Liljegren, and Jordie Benn all on the injured list (the latter two on LTIR). With teams generally wanting to have some positional insurance when playing on the opposite coast, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Kral or another defender brought back up within the next game or two.