Morgan Rielly good to go for Wednesday, Mitch Marner targeting a weekend return

Photo credit:© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Mazzei
2 months ago
Sheldon Keefe spoke with reporters about a positive development regarding Morgan Rielly and Mitch Marner this morning.
Rielly is set to return to the lineup after missing the last four games due to an upper-body injury deemed “day-to-day” last week. While the extent of how he suffered the ailment was not made known, the fact that the Leafs’ practices of late have not been packed indicates the team is trying to keep the players fresh and give them some rest before the start of the postseason. His return to the lineup will be a huge boost for the powerplay which has hit a snag of late with no goals on the man advantage in all four games he has been absent from.
As for Marner, he is closing in on his return but it appears it won’t be tomorrow against the Lightning and instead will likely be on Saturday against the Canadiens. This is aligned with the timeline Keefe gave a few days ago as he said these next two games were the window Marner could be cleared to come back and it seems they are taking extra precautions and giving him more rest. This means Wednesday’s clash against Tampa Bay will be his 12th consecutive game missed due to suffering a high ankle sprain.
The Leafs have been preparing for his return the last few days given they have called up Marshall Rifai numerous times due to roster management. He was already loaned back to the Marlies this morning and won’t come back up since Rielly is now good to go, so that implies the next roster move won’t be happening for a while as the only other player with an imminent return is Calle Jarnkrok.
In terms of how this impacts the lineup going forward, Keefe is going to have some tough decisions to make because the team has done well while both Rielly and Marner have recovered.
The former will likely replace one of Conor Timmins or Mark Giordano but the challenge comes with determining which forward has to come out to make room for Marner. Guys on the bubble who could be on the outside looking in include Nick Robertson, Ryan Reaves, and Pontus Holmberg and while all three have done well of late someone has to sit because Marner is too critical to the lineup to not play.
Toronto will look to solidify their spot in the Atlantic Division when they host the Lightning on Wednesday night. You can catch the action on Sportsnet with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.

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