The Leafs call-up Pontus Holmberg and loan Simon Benoit to the Marlies
Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
1 month ago
The Leafs made a roster move that presents plenty of intrigue as Pontus Holmberg is on his way to meet the team in Tampa Bay.
In a simultaneous move, Simon Benoit is being loaned to the Marlies who are about to kick off a two-game set against the Charlotte Checkers this weekend.
This transaction comes after Sheldon Keefe told the media that Tyler Bertuzzi is not 100% healthy following last night’s loss to the Panthers. Bertuzzi, already absent from their most recent practice due to maintenance, saw his ice time reduced as the game went along before being sent down the lineup with Calle Jarnkrok taking his place on the top line late in the game. Whatever is bothering him has clearly not gone away and he will therefore need to sit out for the next few games to recover.
Benoit was the only extra body whom the Leafs brought with them to begin the five-game road trip so an extra forward was likely going to take priority over playing 11-7 against the Lightning on Saturday. While many presumed that Nick Robertson would get the callup since he is off to a flying start with five points in two games, going with Holmberg allows them more flexibility since it is easier to get a centreman to play on the wing than vice versa. Crucially, he is also waiver-exempt and should be able to go back to the Marlies without issue once Bertuzzi is fully healthy and they no longer require his services.
This could also be an indication of who the Leafs may turn to if they decide to send Fraser Minten back to the WHL in the coming days. There have been some growing pains through his first four NHL games where he has gone scoreless in that span, so many presume that he won’t stick around beyond the nine-game window before his ELC kicks in. Should this be the case, Holmberg should fare fine in a bottom-six role while rotating in and out of the lineup at a moment’s notice.
In two AHL games so far, Holmberg has recorded a goal and an assist. He is fresh off a 37-game stint in the NHL last year where he registered 13 points (five goals and eight assists) and earned himself a two-year extension during the offseason.
Benoit has yet to appear in a regular season game for either the Leafs or Marlies so far this season. The organization is probably exercising caution given he isn’t far removed from having back spasms limit his appearances in training camp, where he appeared in four preseason games at the tail end of camp.
Stats from Hockey-Reference.com.
Salary information from CapFriendly.
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