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Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dermott joins Leafs for practice, Gardiner back skating

We’re about 20 days from the Leafs’ series opener against the Bruins, presumably in Boston with the way the standings are shaking out, and it looks like Toronto is on its way to at least getting one of its key blue-liners back before then.

Travis Dermott finally re-joined the team for practice this morning, albeit wearing a red no-contact jersey. We don’t know what the timeline is on him trading in the red for a regular practice one, but if he’s skating already it seems like three weeks will be plenty for him to get back for the postseason. So that’s great news.

Somewhat surprisingly, Jake Gardiner has returned to the ice as well, taking in a skate with Dermott and working on some passing and such before the team’s main practice this morning. There were a lot of scary rumblings over the last couple weeks that Gardiner’s season (and time in Toronto in general) could be over due to the seriousness of his back injury, which led many to believe he was headed for a similar surgery that Zach Parise received in 2017.

I don’t have to explain to you that getting both back before April 10th would be a massive boost to the team, and will put a lot of minds at ease (or as much as they can be) about the series with Boston. Right now the team is running a Rielly-Hainsey, Muzzin-Zaitsev scheme that will almost surely get absolutely roasted by the Bruins, especially if they target that right side heavily again like last spring.

Long story short, it appears Dermott will surely be back in the next couple weeks, if not sooner, while everyone will just have to hold out hope that Gardiner’s career with the Leafs hasn’t already seen its last game.