The Toronto Maple Leafs as expected have named Peter Horachek their interim head coach for the remainder of the season replacing Randy Carlyle, who was dismissed on Monday.
The 54-year-old Horachek served in a similar position with Florida last season, taking over after the dismissal of Kevin Dineen and went 26-36-4 in 66 games as Panthers head coach.
Leafs Player Development advisor Steve Staios will join Horachek and Steve Spott behind the bench in the first game of the post-Carlyle era, as the Leafs look to end a two-game losing streak against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.
Horachek is looking to shake things up with a Leafs roster that has continually struggled with inconsistency and has shuffled line combinations and tweaked the roster for the club’s first home game in over two weeks.
Nazem Kadri is likely to return on Wednesday after missing two games with a lower body injury. Kadri centered Daniel Winnik and Phil Kessel at Wednesday’s morning skate at the ACC, while Mike Santorelli took Kessel’s place with James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak and Leo Komarov was shifted to the third line with Trevor Smith and David Clarkson.
The Leafs made a roster move, waiving winger Carter Ashton and recalling Sam Carrick from the Toronto Marlies of the AHL. Carrick replaced Greg McKegg on the fourth line with wingers David Booth and Richard Panik.
The 22-year-old Markham native has three goals, 13 assists and 66 penalty minutes in 31 games with the Leafs AHL affiliate and may provide a bit of sandpaper and energy to a lineup that has lacked both in recent games.
Ashton cleared waivers and was assigned to the Leafs AHL affiliate. According to TSN's Jonas Siegel, the young forward was hoping to be claimed and get an opportunity with another NHL team after continually getting limited ice time in Toronto over the last three seasons.
Ashton was -2 in in just over seven minutes ice time in the 5-1 loss to Winnipeg on Saturday and has never proved capable of playing any significant role in his numerous chances with the Leafs, so we may have seen the last of Ashton in a Leafs jersey.
Veteran blueliner Stephane Robidas appears to be back in after sitting four games as a healthy scratch, with Korbinian Holzer the likely odd man out and Jonathan Bernier returns in goal after James Reimer made the start in Winnipeg on Saturday.
Listen to my interview with former Leafs Assistant GM Bill Watters as we discuss the firing of Randy Carlyle and the future of the core group of the Toronto roster:
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