Michalek Out For Season, Gauthier Recalled

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The fancy footwork that is the Leafs’ recent roster moves continued this morning following news that Milan Michalek will miss the five remaining games in the regular season with a knee injury. 

Michalek, part of that big Dion Phaneuf trade with the Ottawa Senators, had appeared in 13 games for Toronto since arriving and scored a goal and five assists over that span. He’ll be back next season, with a year remaining on his current deal that carries a $4M cap hit. It’s doubtful he’s a big part of the Leafs’ future, but he’s a serviceable middle-six forward that Toronto could let walk next offseason without much regret, or they could try to move him for a minor asset. Either way, losing Michalek means very little right now as the Leafs’ tank rolls on.

To replace him, the Leafs have recalled Frederik Gauthier from the Toronto Marlies on an emergency basis. It’s a little strange that a centre would be recalled to replace a winger, but according to Leafs TV’s Paul Hendrick, Byron Froese has been shifted over to the wall and Gauthier played down the middle on the Leafs’ fourth line this morning at practice.

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Gauthier made his NHL debut just a couple weeks ago, going pointless in two games before being returned to the Marlies. In 54 AHL games this year, Gauthier has six goals and 17 points.

And hey, one more thing for all you Soshnikov fans.

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That kid is a joy to watch.

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    • magesticRAGE

      I don’t think it’s about that, but allowing proper time for evaluations at the NHL level. The Goat only had 2 games, Kapanen 5, the other you had mentioned had more. I don’t think Leivo gets another call, they know what they have in him, maybe Leipsic too. Brown and Hyman are Leafs next season, no surprise there. I think Carrick and Valiev have made a good impression, as the Leafs look worse without them. The Leafs are the only drama I’d pay to see, always got something going on!

          • Benjamin

            Yeah, it’s sort of a tank move. But it’s this weird middle ground where you’re not bringing up the most deserving kids and you’re not bringing up your AAAA vets. Don’t really like it.

            I’d rather see Clune or B. Smith if tanking is the goal. They already did it with Campbell and Brennan on the defensive side.

          • Gary Empey

            When Babcock coaches Tanking is never the goal.

            Last time Gauthier was up Babcock said ” What I like about this guy is he is never out of position”

            There were no goals against when he was on the ice. He actually generated a few good scoring chances.

            The Leafs definitely want to evaluate his game at the NHL level. He is only 20 years old.

            Big decisions coming up at this years draft table.

          • Benjamin

            Yeah, he’s a 20 yo rookie pro putting up 0.3 PPG in the AHL. And we have him on an ELC for two more years. Why do we all of the sudden need to evaluate him at the NHL level over more advanced/deserving kids closer to RFA, like Leipsic and Leivo?

        • Gary Empey

          Well… The Marlies have absolutely destroyed the AHL this season and, other than one short span in March, they have continued to have success with their top talent all playing on the big club. So, it kind of looks like most of these guys have mastered the AHL. Now they need to see who can compete against NHL talent.

  • Jeremy Ian

    Justin’s right, this is all an audition lottery. This team is so stacked with prospects that some are going to be rolled into some offseason moves, I suspect. Babcock et al need to see what they have on their hands.