The Leafs have returned home after a successful road trip where they went 4-0-0, including two wins on back-to-back nights against the Flames. As is the case for a team that is in the midst of a strong run, the morning skate saw no changes to the lineup.
#Leafs lines at morning skate (vs. MTL tonight):
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) April 7, 2021
One of the unique things about tonight’s game is that this will be Alex Galchenyuk’s 10th game with the club where he has produced one goal and three assists to begin his tenure. As a result of reaching this milestone, his waiver exemption status is gone and he will have to be placed on waivers if the team wants the cap benefit of putting him on the taxi squad during non-game days. Judging by the fact that the Leafs have already lost Jimmy Vesey and Travis Boyd to waivers in the past few weeks, I wouldn’t expect them to try and risk it with Galchenyuk.
Alex Galchenyuk appears set to play his 10th game for Toronto tonight, which means he'll lose his waiver exemption.
The #leafs will no longer be able to accrue a daily cap benefit by assigning him to the taxi squad on off-days unless they pass him through waivers again.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) April 7, 2021
Galchenyuk has been primarily slotted alongside John Tavares and William Nylander where the trio has found near-instant success, which Kyle Dubas told The Athletic has reduced the urgency to acquire a top-six forward at the deadline. While it might be in the team’s best interest to add a forward to help solidify the depth, it can give some fans solace that they had already made their move without having to surrender key assets.
With Galchenyuk’s confidence growing by the day and having recently scored his first as a Leaf, he is starting to look like the 30-goal scorer from 2016. He has given high praise for how the organization has treated him and guys like Auston Matthews have been impressed with his play, so perhaps Galchenyuk may be willing to stick around past 2021?
No timetable for Frederik Andersen
Andersen did not attend the morning skate due to a lower-body injury that has kept him on the sidelines since March 19th. Sheldon Keefe was asked about the goalie’s health status and while he didn’t provide an update, he said Andersen will return at some point.
Keefe says no update Andersen. He had another follow-up but hasn’t seen the results yet.
Says there is “no concern” when asked if his lower-body injury could keep him out for the remainder of the season
— David Alter (@dalter) April 7, 2021
It is worth mentioning that he missed the entirety of the road trip in spite of reports that his recovery was progressing well. The earliest he could return is on Saturday against the Senators but even that might be too soon. Andersen’s struggles prior to going on the sidelines reinforced the notion that the team can only go as far as their goalie can take them, so having healthy netminders playing well is critical.
There are plenty of options on the trade market if they want to make a splash or they could look internally towards a younger goalie (ex: Veini Vehvilainen). Dubas did specify that he believes the tandem will be Andersen, Jack Campbell, and Michael Hutchinson down the stretch so it is also possible they leave the goalie position as is, especially given reports that some of the players would be upset if the long-time starter was traded.
All of this is contingent on Andersen’s health status heading into the deadline on Monday. If he remains out for longer than initially expected, we may see a shift in approach from Dubas.
Rodion Amirov’s season is over
The Leafs’ 2020 first-round draft pick has spent this season in Russia, primarily with Salavat Yulaev Ufa where he recorded 13 points in 39 games. After his team was eliminated from the KHL playoffs, Amirov was assigned to Tolpar Ufa of the MHL and played well in a short stint. However, they too were knocked out of their postseason and his KHL contract has expired as a result.
#LeafsForever prospect Rodion Amirov’s Russian season has come to an end as Tolpar Ufa was eliminated in the MHL semifinals today with a 3-2 overtime loss.
Amirov finished with three assists in five MHL playoff contests with Tolpar.
— Nick Richard (@_NickRichard) April 7, 2021
The last few weeks have seen rumours surrounding Amirov’s desires to come to North America growing rapidly and it helps that he has yet to sign with Salavat at the time of writing. Getting him locked into his entry-level deal will give the Leafs a chance to have him spend time with the Marlies and observe how he has been progressing.
With Semyon Der-Arguchintsev already in Toronto and rediscovering his success alongside Nick Robertson, adding Amirov into the fold would give the Marlies another weapon that could help them get within striking distance of the Laval Rocket, who currently sit first in the Canadian Division. We’ll have to wait and see if and when Amirov puts pen to paper and officially join the Leafs organization.