Centerman Peter Holland has been sent down today to accommodate for the return of Dave Bolland, and potentially Trevor Smith, to the Leaf lineup.
Holland has shown promise and will hopefully factor in more prominently next camp (or come the next injury), but had posted one point in thirteen games before a lace bite injury which kept him out for three games prior to the Olympic Break. He has 11 points in 35 games this season.
For the first time since October, the Maple Leafs will have Tyler Bozak, Nazem Kadri, Dave Bolland and Jay McClement lined up down the middle of the ice, as was the off-season plan.
Combine the newfound depth in options at center with waiver considerations, Peter Holland never had much of a chance of sticking in the next month, if we’re frank. He is waiver exempt on an entry-level deal and can be freely moved up and down. Even if we wanted to raise hell about Holland getting demoted while McLaren and Orr take up roster spots, it’s obvious there’s no spot in the top-9 for Holland for now and it seems best he center the Marlies’ top line. There’s no denying it looks bad if Holland barely plays the rest of the season after the Leafs lost a 2nd-round pick by keeping him up the last five games, however.
Meanwhile, there are next to zero players unavailable to Randy Carlyle now, provided Bolland does indeed return on the 27th (Trevor Smith is also around). Carter Ashton’s status isn’t clear and he may still be nursing an injury.
The lineup is shaping up something like:
Lupul – Kadri – Kulemin/Clarkson
Raymond – Bolland – Clarkson/Kulemin
McLaren/Ashton/Smith – McClement – Bodie/Orr
There has to be two more moves from here. Trevor Smith, Frazer McLaren and Troy Bodie are all waiver-bound, with Smith in particular likely to get claimed. Bodie meanwhile has put in some good night’s work for this team in the past month. Carter Ashton is waiver exempt (ELC).
Two of Ashton, McLaren, Bodie or Smith will need to be demoted, the latter three of which require waivers. Three of those players are useful, one is not. Will logic win out?
The Olympic trade freeze lifts tomorrow at midnight.