Sheldon Keefe finally has his full arsenal of top players available for the first time since taking over for Mike Babcock as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Toronto activated forward Mitch Marner from injured reserve ahead of Wednesday’s clash with the Colorado Avalanche, loaning forward Nic Petan and defenceman Martin Marincin to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies in the process.
Marner has been sidelined by an ankle injury since Nov. 9. His initial timetable for a recovery was four weeks, but he beat that mark by a few days. Toronto went 4-7 without the dynamic winger in the lineup.
The 22-year-old has appeared in 18 games in this season, scoring four goals and adding 14 assists. The Markham, Ont., native inked a six-year, $65.3-million contract in the off-season after establishing career-highs across the board in 2018-19.
Marner returned to practice earlier this week, skating on a line with John Tavares and Ilya Mikheyev. Zach Hyman was Tavares and Marner’s running mate last year, but seems to have been dropped to the third line alongside Alexander Kerfoot and Kasperi Kapanen.
Judging by practice lines, Marner also appears to have bumped Morgan Rielly to the second power-play unit. Marner skated with Tavares, Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Tyson Barrie on the top special teams quintet Monday.
In his first full season with the Maple Leafs organization, Petan has registered three assists in 13 games. Marincin is no stranger to being shuttled back and forth from the Marlies and has gone pointless in his seven NHL contests on the year.
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