Here’s a fun and loaded tweet to start your morning…
Morgan Rielly absent from this morning’s skate. Travis Dermott and Zach Hyman looking like they’re very close to returning. #LeafsForever
— Paul Hendrick (@HennyTweets) October 24, 2019
So, practice is still going on as I write this and we have no idea if it’s a maintenance day, a chance for Babcock to explore what a Dermott and Ceci third pairing looks like before he recalls Sandin to play with Rielly, or if Morgan Rielly has been dealt for Evgeni Malkin, no matter what, it’s time to panic and assume the worst because any absence seems like it should equate to a long term injury that will end all our hopes and dreams.
Ahhhh, sweet, sweet, hyperbole.
Like I said above, Morgan Rielly is likely a little banged up or has to return some videotapess, and we’re making much to do about nothing
The Good News!!!
Dermott and Hyman looking very close to returning is something we should all be able to get behind. Whether it’s the top pairing or the bottom one, Travis Dermott is going to provide a much needed upgrade to the Leafs defense. He’s practicing with Cody Ceci, so now the question should be if he even wants to come back.
I kid, I kid, but seriously, how bad is Cody Ceci?
Anyway, there isn’t a whole lot of cap worries associated with Travis Dermott coming back because he’s still paid pennies on the dollar for what he does, if we see him this weekend that would be a dream, but just knowing we could see him soon might pull me in off the ledge I’ve seemingly been on since the Leafs lost to the Habs earlier in the month.
As for Hyman, there’s little doubt that his return will also be an important one. Of course, it would be a lot better if he had a Tavares centered line to return to, but I can’t imagine the Leafs putting up too much fuss about sausaging his contract into the lineup as soon as he’s ready to play.
Though, the contract is an issue. A lot of bodies need to be shuffled around to fit in Hyman, and the Leafs might have to empty their press box out to the Marlies/waiver wire to get that done.
Right now both Gravel and Petan can be sent down immediately because they are still within their 30 days with the team, and are the obvious candidates for demotion, and at this point I don’t think anyone really cares if Martin Marincin gets waived. The debate over Shore vs. Spezza vs. Timashov is the interesting one, and while Timashov shouldn’t even factor into this discussion as he’s been the best player of the three, I still have “tie goes to the veteran” echoing in my brain.
Spezza looks like he’d be the odd man out at this point, but given he has more offensive upside (still) than Shore, I wonder if he’ll stick around because of that and the optics of not wanting to demote a player of his status as a former star (meant in the talent sense, not in the Dallas sense wouldn’t make as much sense.)
Ultimately whoever Shore or Spezza that sticks will probably also be gone with the return of Tavares, but I guess they can enjoy a couple of extra weeks of being blamed for why Kapanen doesn’t score anymore.
Lines at Leafs practice
Johnsson – Matthews – Nylander
Mikheyev – Kerfoot – Marner
Moore – Spezza – Kapanen
Timashov – Shore –
Muzzin – Barrie
Dermott – Ceci
Gravel – Holl
Absent: Rielly, Tavares
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) October 24, 2019
Oh Cody Ceci, why are you still here? Other than that, this is probably what you’d expect to see and judging by the fact that Hyman is still an extra, nothing is too imminent on his return.
Expect a big ol’ update once we know the story on Rielly, until then, please continue to panic.
Rielly in tomorrow. #Leafs
— Terry Koshan (@koshtorontosun) October 24, 2019