10:30 a.m.: Giordano is now listed as week-to-week, head coach Sheldon Keefe informed reporters this morning (via Chris Johnston of The Athletic and TSN). He’ll miss significantly more time than just tonight’s contest, meaning Lajoie will likely stick around on the NHL roster for quite a while. Expect the Maple Leafs to paper him up and down from the AHL in the coming days to extend his waiver-exempt status.
9:34 a.m.: The Maple Leafs recalled defenseman Maxime Lajoie from the AHL’s Toronto Marlies Thursday morning, per a team announcement. He comes to the NHL roster after Mark Giordano sustained a hand injury in Tuesday’s shootout win over the Panthers.
Giordano has not been placed on IR. He’s only been ruled out of tonight’s contest against the Kraken at a minimum, and it’s unclear how much additional time (if any) he’ll miss. With ample cap space for a recall, given they have $3.1MM remaining of LTIR relief, no corresponding transaction needs to be made to bring Lajoie up to the NHL.
Lajoie is not expected to draw into the lineup tonight. Instead, he’ll likely serve as a healthy scratch while Simon Benoit and Conor Timmins comprise Toronto’s third pairing. William Lagesson is projected to slide into top-four duties to play alongside Jake McCabe, Jonas Siegel of The Athletic relays. John Klingberg and Timothy Liljegren remain on long-term injured reserve.
This is Lajoie’s second recall of the season after signing a one-year, two-way deal with the Maple Leafs in free agency and subsequently clearing waivers in October. The 26-year-old has 71 NHL games to his name, although he’s failed to play over ten games in a season since his 56-game rookie campaign with the Senators in 2018-19.
A strong skater and minor-league point producer, Lajoie spent the last three seasons in the Hurricanes organization, primarily with their AHL affiliate at the time, the Chicago Wolves. Last season, he captained the squad and posted 11 goals, 34 assists, 45 points, and a -2 rating in 63 games.
His start in the Maple Leafs organization has been underwhelming, recording five assists and a +4 rating through 14 games. Lajoie’s lone NHL appearance in 2023-24 came November 4 against the Sabres, recording a -1 rating, one shot attempt, and one hit in just 4:54 of ice time. He will not need waivers to return to the Marlies if his recall lasts less than 25 days and he plays less than nine games.