Morgan Rielly gets to go to Montreal, Frazer McLaren may be headed to the long-term injury list and Troy Bodie may get a ticket to the season-opener as well, as the Toronto Maple Leafs shaped their roster ahead of Monday’s 5 p.m. NHL deadline.
“He’s with our hockey club. He’s one of our seven defencemen,” Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle said after Monday’s practice about Rielly, 19, who was taken fifth overall in the 2012 NHL entry draft.
However, Carlyle refused to discuss the Leafs’ roster for Tuesday’s opener against the Montreal Canadiens other than to say he expects to start with 12 forwards and six defencemen.
That means a trip to the long-term injury list for enforcer Frazer McLaren. He suffered a broken pinky finger in training camp and it’s been slow to heal. Given his position as a frequent fighter, a place on the long-term list beckons because the finger needs to be completely healed before McLaren can play.
“Frazer McLaren saw the hand specialist and he’s still a ways away,” Carlyle said. “He’s in a position where the healing process started but it takes time to heal those small bones, especially in that area for that type of player and his job description.”
By putting McLaren on the long-term list, the Leafs will free up just enough salary-cap space to bring in Bodie, who cleared NHL waivers at noon Monday. He can fight and will probably join centre Jay McClement and Colton Orr on the fourth line.
Aside from Rielly and Bodie, the other newcomers on the Leafs roster will be defenceman Paul Ranger, who returns to the NHL after a three-year absence due to personal reasons, goaltender Jonathan Bernier, rookie forward Carter Ashton and forwards Mason Raymond and Dave Bolland.
Under NHL rules, Rielly can play nine games before the Leafs must make a decision about keeping him or sending him back to junior hockey. If he plays a 10th game, Rielly has to stay with the Leafs for the rest of the season.
“We feel strongly that Morgan is a young kid that’s shown a lot of potential and, has played well in training camp,” Carlyle said. “There’s a lot of positives taking place with a young player.
“Obviously, with the 10-game or nine-game scenario we have some flexibility,” Carlyle said. “But the first thing we going to consider is, is the player helping our hockey club and are we helping him by doing what we’re doing?”
Carlyle declined to say whether James Reimer or Bernier will start in Montreal. The Leafs open the season with back-to-back road games and Carlyle said previously the starts will be split, with one goaltender playing in Montreal and the other on Wednesday in Philadelphia against the Flyers.