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Leafs sign Verhaeghe to entry-level contract, send him to AHL Marlies

We don’t normally write a post every time a third-round draft pick signs an entry-level contract, but it’s kinda slow right now so we’ll make an exception for Maple Leafs prospect Carter Verhaeghe, who did just that today.

Verhaeghe is coming off an 82-point season in 65 games with OHL Niagara. Still only 18 years old, the 6-2, 185-pound center will join AHL Toronto on an amateur tryout agreement for the remainder of the season.

According to Hockey’s Future, Verhaeghe has “blossomed into one of the [OHL’s] best play-making centers.”

Verhaeghe’s 82 points were the 21st most in the league.

Another Leafs prospect, 20-year-old Connor Brown, led the OHL with 128 points while playing with Connor McDavid and the rest of the high-scoring Erie Otters.

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    Alexei Emelin was ejected for this hit on Matt Calvert

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    Alexei Emelin has been in and out of the Montreal Canadiens lineup, but this wasn’t the way they wanted him to keep his legs fresh.

    The hard-hitting defenseman received a game misconduct and five-minute major penalty for a late hit on Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert on Tuesday.

    So far, it sounds like Calvert may be OK.

    You can see video of that hit above, as well as a GIF of the infraction via My Regular Face.

    Many believe that Emelin should not have been ejected.

    Injuries continue to dog Lupul as Leafs place him on IR

    Joffrey Lupul
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    Injuries have been a regular problem for Joffrey Lupul for much of his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it doesn’t look like that’s changing in 2015-16.

    The team placed him on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 28, calling up Rich Clune in the process.

    This IR stint means that Lupul will miss at least three games for Toronto.

    From the sound of things, it’s a nagging issue, as notes.

    “He’s been having the same problem here for a bit,” Mike Babcock told media members on Sunday. “He doesn’t seem to be getting the power back that they thought, so we’re just trying to monitor it the best we can.”

    Leafs Nation points out that Lupul has missed about one-third of Toronto’s contests since suffering a separated shoulder in April 2012.

    At 32, there’s still time for Lupul to fight through this, although injuries generally accumulate with age.

    WATCH LIVE: Wild at Blackhawks; Penguins at Sharks

    Scott Darling, Charlie Coyle
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    Will Ryan Suter say something foolish during tonight’s game? Is Brent Burns‘ beard so long that it’s finally starting to scrape the ice?

    We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more during Tuesday’s NBCSN doubleheader.

    Need to follow the two games online? Never fear.

    Game 1: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks


    Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks


    Bolland back in, Bjugstad out with injury for Panthers

    Evgeny Medvedev, Nick Bjugstad
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    Message sent or not via healthy scratches or not, Dave Bolland returns to the Florida Panthers mix on Tuesday.

    Unfortunately for the Panthers, it’s maybe not under the most ideal circumstances, as part of the explanation for his return is Nick Bjugstad‘s absence.

    The Miami Herald’s George Richards reports that Bjugstad is out tonight against the St. Louis Blues with an upper-body injury that he suffered during a Monday practice.

    In fact, as you can see in the tweet above, the young forward was sent home because of the injury.

    This forces some shuffling, with Vincent Trocheck moving up to the second line while Bolland centers the third combo as usual.

    The Panthers are currently on a two-game winning streak and visit St. Louis as the second date in a five-game road trip.

    This is also the early part of a span in which they play nine of 10 games on the road (counting Sunday’s away win), so a prolonged absence from Bjugstad could sting that much more.