After Frederik Andersen was pulled from Saturday night’s Maple Leafs game during the first intermission, fans across the city of Toronto assumed the worst. Mike Babcock came out after the game saying that it was the Buffalo Sabres doctor that thought Andersen should come out, and though Darren Dreger reported today that the goaltender had been removed for the concussion protocol, that did not necessarily mean he had suffered one.
Today, Andersen was out working before Leafs practice alone and Garret Sparks was at practice with the team according to David Alter of The Athletic. Sparks has been with the AHL Marlies all season, and has found much success there with a .927 save percentage through 26 games. Andersen would return for practice, meaning the Maple Leafs are currently carrying three goaltenders. The team has also recalled Kasperi Kapanen from the AHL, who would be making his season debut if he plays tomorrow night.
Kapanen was part of the young group of rookies the Maple Leafs called up near the end of last season, though hasn’t gotten the same chance this year. In the AHL all season, Kapanen has 43 points in 43 games and looks as ready as he’ll ever be to make the jump to the NHL level. Acquired in the Phil Kessel deal before last season, the speedy winger was once a first-round draft pick by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Maple Leafs will be without Josh Leivo and Nikita Soshnikov still, meaning Kapanen could get into the lineup as soon as Tuesday night against the Florida Panthers. Still looking for his first NHL point, it’s unclear if he’d slot into the vacant fourth line spot, or be placed in an offensive role right away.