The Toronto Maple Leafs bounced back with a solid effort in a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators in Kanata, ON on Saturday, with the top line of Joe Thornton, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner accounting for all three goals and the club pelting Sens goalie Matt Murray with 40 shots.
Jack Campbell made 17 saves for his first victory in 11 months and gave the Leafs a split of the back-to-back matches with their provincial rival and moved the club to 2-1-0 on the season.
Not all the news was good for Toronto, as rookie Nick Robertson left the game in the first period after being hit along the boards by Ottawa’s Drake Batherson. The 19-year-old was playing his first game of the season and did not return after suffering a knee injury.
“It looks like he’s definitely going to miss some time, the extent of (the injury), we don’t quite know yet.” Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said after the game. “(Nick is) going to get an MRI I believe tomorrow. I’m not sure, but we’ll hear very soon. We’ll know more then.”
In the game, Aaron Dell was dressed as the backup, giving starter Frederik Andersen a full day off the ice, but the luxury of three goalies on the roster may be short-lived, as the Leafs placed Dell and veteran Jason Spezza on waivers on Sunday.
The moves appear to be necessitated by Robertson’s injury, since the Leafs do not have enough cap space to call up his replacement. According to The Athletic’s James Mirtle, Toronto has less than $700,000 in space and that forced them to place Dell ($800,000) and Spezza ($700,000) on waivers.
With a number of teams with shortages in goal and such stalwarts as Troy Grosenick and Anton Forsberg being eagerly gobbled up, Dell is likely to be claimed by Edmonton, New Jersey or another club with an issue between the pipes.
Spezza is a different kettle of fish altogether. The 37-year-old can still play in a limited role and on Saturday showed his value winning all 10 faceoffs he took against Ottawa, but he has made it clear that the main reason he returned this season was to play for his hometown Leafs.
“I know that I am not the player I once was, but do feel like I can help quite a bit. The fire still burns and I really hope to be back here next year.” Spezza said. “I would really love a chance to come back with this group and continue to play.”
With it possible that Spezza would retire if claimed, it is possible that would be enough to get him through waivers and to the taxi squad, where he could be recalled on an emergency basis for 10 games or 30 days without having to clear again.
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