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Muzzin set to return, plus the Leafs may risk burning a year of Sandin's ELC

Mike Armenti   ·   26 janvier 2020
With Jake Muzzin having finished his conditioning stint with the Toronto Marlies over the weekend, he looks poised to return to the Leafs lineup on Monday night when the Leafs take on the Preds in Nashville.

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Muzzin's return could not come at a better time for the Leafs, who have spent much of the season dealing with injuries to key players, most recently on their blueline. The Leafs have dropped 5 of their last 6 contests, earning just four of a possible twelve points over that span. In a playoff race as tight as what we are currently seeing, now is not the time for the Buds to collapse. Getting Muzzin back into the lineup will go a long way in helping to right the ship in Toronto.

In another noteworthy piece of Leafs news, it seems as though Rasmus Sandin has really made his presence felt in his second stint with the Leafs this season. Sandin was paired with Cody Ceci on the team's third pairing in practice on Sunday in Nashville, with the newly extended Martin Marincin practicing as the 7th defenseman.

This is an interesting turn of events, as Sandin will be playing in his 10th game of the season, should he indeed suit up against the Predators. What's the significance of that number? It passes the nine game threshold that would allow the Leafs to retain an extra year of control over the young blueliner. In other words, if Sandin plays on Monday, the Leafs will have burned one year of his entry-level contract.



This is not a problem if you're the Leafs and if you believe that having Sandin in the lineup gives you a better opportunity to win more games. It's no secret that this team needs all the help it can get on the back end and Sandin's strong performance in the Czech Republic for the IIHF World Junior Championship proved that he is ready to continue playing high-level hockey for the Buds this season.

With Morgan Rielly still sidelined, the Leafs will have an interesting decision to make when he comes back, as the team will be loaded on the left side with Rielly, Muzzin and Dermott. Where will Sandin fit in? He's not going to take Tyson Barrie's spot and Justin Holl has been a revelation for the Leafs this season. Can Sandin do enough to warrant benching or waiving Cody Ceci?

There are a lot of questions that need to be answered in Toronto, not the least of which is what the plan for the blueline will be going forward. We do know that the Leafs have been rumoured to be in the market for a right-handed defenseman with term remaining, so perhaps they plan to find a new home for one or two of their current blue liners with a pending UFA status to create some roster space.

The coming weeks are very important for the Leafs, as that time should play an impactful role in deciding whether the Leafs are buyers or sellers at the deadline.





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QUIZ ON TRADERUMOURS
image
What is Tina Turner's real name?
ANNA MAE BULLOCK
ANNA MARAJ
FRANCES ETHEL GUMM
ONIKA TANYA MARAJ
SURVEY
Which scenario would you prefer if the NHL season restart?
END OF REGULAR SEASON + PLAYOFFS
IMMEDIATELY PLAYOFFS WITH 16 TEAMS
IMMEDIATELY PLAYOFFS WITH MORE TEAMS
IT'S BETTER TO CANCEL THE SEASON