The Toronto Maple Leafs announced that Jake Muzzi has been recalled from his conditioning stint and that should provide a big sign of relief.
The 30-year-old has been out of the lineup since Dec. 27 with a fractured foot and recently played in a game for the Toronto Marlies after he was loaned on a conditioning stint. With Morgan Rielly also sidelined with a similar injury, getting Muzzin back will definitely help a blue line that has struggled to keep the team afloat.
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Fortunately for the Leafs, getting a game in the AHL should help Muzzin get a head start on his conditioning which is something that’s tough to work on when rehabbing a lower-body injury. He was also joined by Trevor Moore who has been dealing with a concussion since Dec. 21. Moore scored a goal in the Marlies loss to the Cleveland Monsters.
To get Muzzin back should offer a stabilizing presence especially on the penalty kill which has gone 78.3 per cent since Dec. 28 which isn’t terrible considering the Leafs have been able to cut down on how many times they are shorthanded.
What’s been an obvious issue for the past month is how the Leafs are playing defensively allowing 37 goals over the past 10 games (3.70 GAA per game) including 27 at 5-on-5 which is the ninth most allowed in that time.
Part of that certainly can be attributed to the team’s goaltending during this stretch which has not been great by any stretch but they have also allowed 33.3 shots against per game which is the fourth most in the NHL. Also with Rielly and Muzzin out, the Leafs have had to deal with mismatches against top players.
The obvious benefit will also help either keep Martin Marincin off the ice or at least in a more favourable matchup which will see him not go up against the opposing team’s top players. Case in point to his rough night against the Chicago Blackhawks where he was a minus-4 in 10:41 of ice time.
What this means for Rasmus Sandin‘s status remains to be seen but if he does stay in the lineup than he can also benefit from not having to play tough defensive minutes.
What are your thoughts on Muzzin preparing to make his return? Who should be the one to come out of the lineup? Let us know in the comments below.