Leafs recall Liles, Rielly to World Juniors?

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have recalled veteran blueliner John-Michael Liles from the AHL Marlies, the club announced on Friday.

Liles, 33, has been buried in the minors for some cap relief of his four-year, $15.5 million deal… of which there are three years remaining (Liles also has a modified no-trade clause.)

The former Avalanche rearguard has played well for the Marlies, scoring three goals and 13 points with a team-best plus-9 rating through 16 games.

Liles’ recall has fueled speculation that Toronto might release 19-year-old rookie defenseman Morgan Rielly to play for Canada at the upcoming World Junior tournament. Rielly was a healthy scratch for Thursday’s win over Dallas and it doesn’t appear the Leafs are in any rush to make a decision on his playing future.