January 31 2014 12:22PM
The Toronto Maple Leafs have called up Greg McKegg from the Toronto Marlies. The 21 year old centre has 26 points in 35 games with the Marlies this season, good for third on the team in points and first among centres.
Yes, this is a confusing call up. To be honest, I rarely blink at player transactions at this degree and assume them to be true by default, but I absolutely had to confirm this one for myself. Why? Because, this felt just as weird to me as it does to you.
Mark Fraser's trade today was made so David Bolland can be activated from injured reserve when he's ready. Trevor Smith, while not healthy, is inching towards that status. Peter Holland has a "lace cut" issue, but is supposed to be ready for tomorrow.Yet, the Leafs are calling up a centre. Not just any centre, but an offensively-driven one?
It's not like the Marlies are home either. In fact, they play in San Antonio tonight (we'll have a combined recap of this and yesterday's game against Oklahoma City), so McKegg's transition is "fly home" rather than "cross the hall at the Mastercard Centre". For that reason, it's likely not a "you earned a slight pay boost" event, especially when the Leafs are close to the cap.
Odds are, Smith and Bolland aren't ready and Holland's lace cut is worse than they thought (it's a weird injury. Maybe the cut got infected?), and McKegg is an insurance policy with a low cap hit ($660,000). It's not like he doesn't deserve it; he's two games removed from a seven game point streak and has followed up a somewhat underwhelming start to the season with some stellar hockey. But I guess we'll find out the exact reasoning in due time. For now, just appreciate the best name in the organization getting some prime-time visibility.
Photo courtesy of Christain Bonin / TSGPhoto.com