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Toronto Maple Leafs recall defenceman Marshall Rifai from the Marlies

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Photo credit:© Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Mazzei
8 days ago
Marshall Rifai is back up with the team for the second time in as many games as the Leafs called him up this morning.
He was originally brought up on Saturday afternoon before their game against the Sabres for what was deemed to be roster management purposes since Mitch Marner was retroactively placed on LTI. Rifai was brought up purely as an extra body since the Leafs were down to six defencemen as a result of injuries to Morgan Rielly, Timothy Liljegren, and Joel Edmundson last week. Sheldon Keefe confirmed this before the game in Buffalo and the next day he was promptly loaned back to the Marlies.
Today’s optional morning skate did see Rielly and Marner take to the ice for some reps as both work their way back from their respective ailments. Having said that, Marner was not taken off LTI yesterday despite being eligible even though his return was likely not going to be until Wednesday at the earliest. It is therefore fair to wonder if he experienced a setback or that one of the other defencemen is dealing with a nagging injury that could put their chances of playing tonight into question.
It remains to be seen if he gets to play tonight, but Rifai has already been called up thrice this season and it is becoming more clear that he has a place in the team’s long-term plans given the uptick in promotions. His first stint came back in February when the Leafs were without Rielly for their western road trip and Rifai got to play in the first two NHL games of his career where he went scoreless while registering four hits and a block.
The short NHL stint appears to have given him a jolt because in the 15 games since being sent down he has produced six assists. Rifai’s 17 points (two goals and 15 assists) currently have him fourth among Marlies defencemen in scoring and he has already surpassed his offensive output from a season ago in 20 fewer games.
The Leafs will be hosting the Panthers for a potential playoff preview on Monday. You can catch the action on Sportsnet with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.

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