The Toronto Marlies await the return of Kasperi Kapanen and Brendan Leipsic as both were cleared for contact and skated in practice on Monday.
Kapanen sustained what looked like a lower-body injury following a hit by Jake Dotchin back in January. At the time he was leading the Toronto Marlies in goals with 16 before Byron Froese passed him in his absence, but he should be able to reclaim that with Froese being dealt to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Brian Boyle.
Leipsic’s injury came from a hit by Kyle Rau in front of the Marlies bench. He was the Marlies leading scorer with 38 points and still remains in the top three despite only playing 34 games.
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Garret Sparks has also reclaimed the starters job with a 16-7-0 record, 2.21 GAA and a .923 save percentage. However, Sparks is dealing with an injury forcing the Marlies to sign Clint Windsor to an amateur tryout contract as insurance.
“He was able to keep me calm so I worked on things you wouldn’t normally work on when you are healthy,” Kapanen said to The Athletic’s David Alter (subscription required). “I’ve been in the gym every day. I feel a lot stronger and better. Once I get a feel for the game again, I think I’m going top be a better player.”
Leipsic was optimistic about his upcoming return to the ice and admits that there will be an adjustment period when he gets back.
“I’m ready to go,” he said to Alter. “It’s up to me feeling good right now out there mentally and physically. Feeling confident is the biggest thing – just getting my confidence back. When you don’t practice for five weeks, guys are buzzing around and you are just trying to get your feet back.”
The Marlies will play three games in four days starting this weekend with Frederik Gauthier also making his return after a stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Nikita Soshnikov was also loaned back to the Marlies in order for him to be eligible for the AHL playoffs. If Kapanen and Leipsic return to form the Toronto Marlies should be a tough team to deal with moving forward.