If you are a Maple Leafs fan and through 8 games of pre-season you have decided that you cannot get enough of prospect Morgan Reilly, then you are in for a surprise.
Unless something crazy happens in the next 24 hours starting now, then it looks like Reilly will be part of the team that Head Coach Randy Carlyle puts together for opening night tomorrow night in Montreal.
Officially the cut-off time for the NHL roster ‘freeze’ was supposed to be 1 hour 15 minutes ago and there hasn’t been any word, so that has to be good for the 19-year-old out of the WHL Moose Jaw Warriors.
With the decision on Sunday to put veteran defenseman John-Michael Liles, 33, on waivers Sunday along with five other players, it appears the Leafs decided to keep Rielly at least for the nine NHL games allowed a teenaged player before he has to stay for good or go back to junior hockey. The Leafs also could put forward Frazer McLaren (broken pinky) on the long-term injury list on Monday, which would allow them to carry 12 active forwards along with seven defensemen.
Rielly will be one of two rookies on the team when the Leafs open the 2013-14 season Tuesday in Montreal against the Canadiens. Also making the cut was winger Carter Ashton, who will probably play beside centre Dave Bolland on the third line. It appears the open spot on the fourth line will go to either Troy Brodie or Trevor Smith once they clear NHL waivers Monday. Both have cap-friendly salaries of $600,000 or less.
Don’t get too used to what looks to be the Leafs roster for now, when Oct. 27 rolls around, suspended forward David Clarkson will make his return which likely means one of those other guys is gonna get his ass kicked back down to the AHL.
The roster ‘games’ will continue at that point for Head Coach Carlyle and GM Nonis.
Rookie centre Joe Colborne lost his fight for a job in Toronto when he was traded to his hometown Calgary Flames on Saturday night for a conditional fourth-round pick.
Since Colborne is a skill player who does not like a physical game, he had to win a job among the top-six forwards if he was to stick with the Leafs. Carlyle likes his bottom six forwards to play a hard-hitting game, something that never appeared to interest Colborne.
With Liles on waivers and looking like he will also be shipped down to the AHL, and Colborne shipped out to Calgary, almost all of the assets received in the Tomas Kaberle trade are gone.
In addition to Liles, the Leafs have also assigned forwards Trevor Smithand Troy Bodie, defenceman T.J. Brennan and Korbinian Holzer and goaltender Drew MacIntyre to the Marlies after they cleared waivers on Sunday.