It really wasn’t that long ago that the Toronto Maple Leafs had a real shot at making the playoffs. (No, seriously.)
At this point, the Maple Leafs are in tank mode, though – whether that’s by choice or not.
The latter point is strengthened by a series of injuries, which might open up another opportunity for prodigal prospect Nazem Kadri. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that injuries to Joffrey Lupul, Nikolai Kulemin and Mike Brown might be part of the reason Kadri’s been called up.
You can break Kadri’s runs in 2011-12 into three categories now that he’s back up for at least a cup of coffee. Here’s how the first two spans went:
Oct. 20-24: three games, one assist
Dec. 22-Jan. 31: 16 games, four goals and one assist
For all the hype Kadri’s gotten since being drafted seventh overall in 2009, he hasn’t really justified the attention that naturally comes from Toronto. At 21 years old it’s ridiculous to close the book on him, however, but you have to wonder if this last stretch might have an impact on his future with the Leafs.
Derek Roy will continue his pro career overseas, as he has signed a contract with Bern in the Swiss League.
Roy attended training camp on a professional tryout with the Washington Capitals, but he was unable to claim a spot on their roster.
The 32-year-old had some great years in the NHL, but since the 2011-12 season Roy had suited up for six different teams (excluding his PTO with the Caps).
His best season came in 2007-08 when he scored 32 goals and 81 points in 78 games with the Buffalo Sabres.
Roy will leave the NHL with 189 goals and 524 points in 738 career games.
He will join former NHLers Cory Conacher, Andrew Ebbett, Chuck Kobasew, Simon Moser and Sean Bergenheim in Bern.
They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.
The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.
In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.
The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.
Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.
The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).
McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.