Frederik Gauthier recalled and Mitch Marner put on IR

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Photo Credit: Eric Bolte/USA TODAY SPORTS

Two moves were made this morning, one involving the recall of Frederik Gauthier from the Toronto Marlies and the other being the retroactive placement of Mitch Marner on injured reserve. The move of putting Marner on injured reserve means that he will be able to come back as soon as Thursday.

The current debate regarding Gauthier is whether or not he is suitable as a fourth line center. Considering his competition is Ben Smith, it is a rock and hard place scenario. Both don’t bring much offense to the team but are different enough that different groups have different arguments about the players. 

Gauthier is a hulking player and Smith is diminutive comparatively. Face-offs seem to be the argument in Smith’s favor. The difference between the two is probably negligible and not worth the conversation. Every little bit counts down the stretch and as they try to find a player to solidify the spot, the debate will continue to rage on.

After Marner’s injury against the Blue Jackets, no one was sure how long the rookie forward would be out. His run in with Boone Jenner looked much worse then it ended up being. While the team has gone on a bit of a slide without him, rushing him back would be a foolish move. His long-term viability is much more important than anything else.

The Marner news is good to hear since it means a short-term return is in the cards. The Gauthier news should elicit an eye roll from anyone following the team. If anything that part should lead to more content from my fellow writers. Gauthier and Smith isn’t going to go away until the off-season.

For now, focus on the possibility of young Marner returning sooner rather than later. That should get you through the week. He is the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. It’s nice to have hope in Leafs’ Nation.

  • LukeWarmWater

    Great line Jeff as you point out that Smith probably wins the face off argument but it is negligible so why even bring it up. To me the difference is that the goat is improving and has the potential of being a big strong defensive center. As you point out Smith is well small playing against opposition cromagnon lines. He just gets pushed around as a thug fourth liner like a Neil for Ottawa just pushes him out of the way.

    I don’t think a lot of leaf fans appreciated Ottawa pushing the talented young leafs around or even in the case of the timid J.V.R. who is a big guy. Now Gauthier has shown on one occasion he can handle himself as the play becomes more and more physical, ask the Montreal goon how he felt the next day. He can lean on players, a longer stick reach on the penalty kill, a better ability to get that big body in the way of shots.

    So in reality Jeff there is no debate except in your own mind. Welcome back Goat.

    I do agree with you that there is indeed no sense in rushing young Marner. Btw I was on a radio program this morning and of course the latest sensation sweeping the nation is the show down at the O.K. Corral, the showdown at high noon in Dodge city between the two new goal scoring gun slingers. Why even Marshall Dillon doesn’t want to get involved. The hype has been unbelievable across the country, Winniperg , obviously Toronto and even out here in God’s country. Now I get to watch all the leaf games but the N.H.L. in its wisdom along with N.B.C. isn’t carrying this game nationally. No siree you don’t want to market your two top new snipers in the game. One who will likely be rookie of the year and could win the Maurice Rocket Richard trophy for most goals. Nope be the typical incompetent N.H.L. and wonder why you can’t move up with the three other major league sports. An analogy of years gone by would have been not having on t.v. nationally Larry Bird against Magic in their rookie season in the N.B.A.

    Hockey is such a wonderful game. It has to be to survive the idiots running the N.H.L. led by the little man Bettman.

    On this program I said if Laine, Matthews and Marner can stay healthy the player with the most points at the end of their careers will indeed be Marner. The guy is an assist machine in his rookie year.

    This will be a physical game with the Jets having some size on that squad so the goat will be in the middle of the action, more than holding his own.

    • LukeDaDrifter

      One of the things a lot of people seem to miss is the purpose of the 4th line in today’s hockey. As we now have 40 second shifts. Coaches are now asking their top 9 to go all out with forechecks, backchecks for the whole 40 seconds. If you roll three lines then your top 9 will only get 80 seconds rest between shifts. It will not take long before the top nine is exhausted. It appears what NHL coaches hope to get from their 4th lines is a shift where nothing much happens. If the 4th line can even out their goals-for and their goals-against the coach is content. As I see it, allowing the top guys to get some extra rest is their main role. Secondary to that is, if they can play a penalty killing shift so in our case top 9 guys like Brown and Hyman do not have to do it all messing up their regular shift. If the center on the 4th line wins more faceoffs than they lose that is also a bonus. The days when that 4th line was made up of so called hard checking energy guys to change the momentum, has largely disappeared. There certainly is a desire to ice a top 12 format. The biggest holdup there is actually having 12 forwards that are all of the old top top six quality. With the prospects the Leafs have waiting in the wings, Babcock very well may attempt to pull that off next year. If one remembers last year Babcock attempted to play a top 9 format. We just didn’t have 9 guys good enough to play it. He was forced to go back to the older top 6, with the 3rd and 4th line checking.