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Photo Credit: Andrew Villa-USA TODAY Sports

Why do the Leafs have only twelve forwards in California?

When Trevor Moore was called up eleven days ago, everyone assumed it was for the big California road trip that is happening this week. But then he was sent down just five days later – so what’s happening?

As of now, the Leafs have the twelve forwards that are needed to play tonight against the Los Angeles Kings. But whenever the Leafs are in California in the past, they always grab an extra forward in case of an injury or two.

There are a couple possibilities – some being much more likely than others – but this is definitely odd from a team that is usually prepared for this specific road trip every year. We’re used to 13 forwards in case of injuries, not just going in shorthanded for no reason.

Going with a new strategy of 11 forwards and 7 defencemen is a possibility if the Leafs are faced with another injury while they are on this trip. This option would be the only one that would require zero transactions to happen between tonight and puck drop tonight at the Staples Center.

If I can recall correctly, I don’t think Babcock has recently used 11F/7D with the Leafs and especially on a road trip. Babcock being alright with the possibility of having to suddenly change his strategy is why this outcome is not very likely, meaning someone has to be coming.

The safest outcome to bet for is that Trevor Moore or another Marlie is simply called up this morning and they’re on a plane in time to make it for the gameday skate. They last played in Belleville against the Senators on Saturday night and play tonight in Laval against the Rocket. So it’s not like there are any scheduling or travel conflicts as of now. This is probably what is going to happen.

But what if it’s not the most likely outcome?

As we have all seen, Auston Matthews is in California with the team in his recovery, but what if it’s all a mirage and he’s really going to be ready for tonight?

Rushing a player back from injury is nothing to take lightly, but it can be a rare situation where this is an option. Matthews can have some crazy good genes and suddenly he’s right back in it.

It definitely won’t happen, but it can be a cool story of him coming back and completely dominating the super slow and old Kings.

The one option that everyone truly wants and the one that I’ve left for last is that William Nylander has re-signed with the Leafs and is actually in California right now and on his way to join the team.

There is no reason to not announce that Nylander has returned, but we do know that Dubas is a massive wrestling fan. And what would cause more excitement than suddenly seeing Nylander in the starting lineup tonight?

It would cause this fanbase to go wild and actually bring some eyes to that 10:30 pm ET start against the Kings tonight.


Besides the extremely less likely options, it is really a wonder why the Leafs didn’t bring an extra forward on this trip. It might be easy to just fly that forward out in case of an injury, but they have historically always brought someone just in case.

Especially having a back-to-back against the Sharks and Ducks that limits the time to bring a forward onboard. Might be seen as the risk that they are willing to take, but why take it when it’s unnecessary?

I assumed that the Leafs would call-up a Marlie before they flew out to California, but now that they are there, what’s happening?

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