Speculation on whoÂ is likely to be scratched for Saturday’sÂ rematchÂ against the New York Rangers, an update on Phil Kessel, and (surprise, surprise) some early-season trade chatter.
Per Mike Zwolinski of The Star, Nik Kulemin and Jamal Mayers were wearing the maroon practice jerseys this morning, an indication that each will be a healthy scratch for Saturday’s gameÂ in New York.
ThisÂ of courseÂ means a return to the lineup forÂ Nik Hagman and Matt Stajan.Â Â Cue the “Welcome Back, Kotter” theme music.
Update On Kessel
Zwolinski reports thatÂ Phil Kessel wasÂ skating full-speed atÂ practice, and although he appears to be ahead of schedule he has yet to be cleared for contact, which means he is still not close to returning to the lineup.Â Â The latest estimateÂ for Kessel’s probable return date is roughly one month from now — on or around November 15th.
If Kessel can indeed return to the lineupÂ around that time, he will have by that point missed 18 games, leaving him on target for 64 games played this season if he canÂ remain healthy the rest of the way.
Grapevine Chatter & Hearsay
Although no deals are imminent as of yet, the Leafs’ sloppy start has naturally sparked a fair amount of early-season tradespeak.Â Â Â The grapevine circuitÂ has the LeafsÂ feelingÂ out the possibilities with Minnesota and Colorado, recently.
San Jose-Toronto rumours haveÂ been going around for a while now.Â The SharksÂ did at one pointÂ express some interest in Mike Van Ryn, but were holding out to see him play before seriously exploring a deal.Â Now that he is out for the season, expect rumours involving the Leafs and Sharks to die down somewhat … although some are suggesting the Sharks may have interest in another Leafs’ defender.
The rumour of the Leafs having interest in Marc Savard may have more legs than at first appeared.Â Â Note that the Bruins aren’t shopping Savard; rather, rumour has it he may sign elsewhere next season, which has prompted some teams to put out feelers as to what his availability might be this season.Â Given the financials involved, there would almost certainly need to be another deal made first before a Savard-to-Toronto scenario were to become feasible.Â At this stage, consider the Leafs’ interest to be ofÂ the exploratoryÂ sortÂ only.