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(Frank Franklin II)
(Frank Franklin II)

Leafs lineup gets makeover Add to ...

Two forwards are hurt. Another is on his way back into the lineup.

A fourth was missing from practice for personal reasons. And a fifth, in Colton Orr, was out for a second straight day with the flu.

As for playing seven defencemen as part of the solution... why not?

The Toronto Maple Leafs roster is going to look dramatically different than it has all season on Thursday in Nashville, as a host of changes are being brought on mostly by necessity.

More related to this story

Most significantly, centre Mikhail Grabovski (lower body) and linemate Clarke MacArthur (upper body) are both out with injuries suffered in Tuesday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Phoenix Coyotes.

"Clarke, I'm not really sure what's going on there, he's got to go see the doctor," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "He won't play tomorrow. And Mikhail's going to miss at least two weeks. Beyond that, I can't tell."

Wilson, however, said the team will not be calling anyone up, in part because Tim Connolly will make his return after missing four games with an upper-body ailment of his own.

Also expected to play is Matt Frattin, who was absent from practice due to undisclosed reasons and will take a separate flight to join the team Thursday.

"You have to manage the roster limit right now," Wilson said of a call-up putting the Leafs over the 23-man limit. "We don't have any room."

Cody Franson also enters the lineup to face his former team after sitting as a healthy scratch for all but four games this season and having his name circulating widely in trade rumours.

Here's my best guess at this point at what the Leafs lineup will look like, keeping in mind that Wilson wants all seven defencemen dressed (for the first time this season) and that Ben Scrivens will make his sixth start in the last seven games:

Lupul - Bozak - Kessel Frattin - Connolly - Kulemin Lombardi - Steckel - Crabb Gardiner - Dupuis - Brown

Gunnarsson - Phaneuf Franson - Schenn Liles - Komisarek

Scrivens Gustavsson

The injured: Reimer, Armstrong, Grabovski, Orr, MacArthur Scratched: Rosehill

Add it up, and there are 26 bodies, but the Leafs get down to 23 by virtue of having James Reimer, Colby Armstrong and Grabovski on injured reserve. MacArthur may soon join them there once the team gets more information about his injury, and at that point, there could be a call-up made.

Notebook

- Wilson on talk that the Leafs need a veteran goalie: "Not right now. I think a lot of people are going to talk and management's looking into improving our team in all areas. That's not for me to say. Ben did a great job last night after the first five minutes. I was glad that it worked out for him because I had my hand on the button to say the least. But I didn't have to push it."

- Wilson on Gustavsson sitting so often of late: "Jonas knows what's going on. We've talked. Frankie Allaire's talked. Ben has a chance right now and he's playing well. He's played great on the road and this is a road game."

- Franson on finally playing again: "It's a situation that's a bit of a tough spot, but what can you do? It's a good group of guys and it's not an easy lineup to get into. The guys have been playing pretty well and that's just the way it is. It should be a lot of fun. Any chance you get to play against the team you came from it's enjoyable. Every game's a chance for me to prove something to people. When you're in the situation I'm in, you've got to take advantage of every opportunity that you get."

 

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