University of Toronto goaltender Alex Bishop will back up Jack Campbell on the Maple Leafs‘ bench tonight.

A 6’4 Richmond Hill native who is majoring in Commerce, Bishop lists his favourite team on the U of T website as the Maple Leafs, with who he signed an Amateur Tryout Contract this morning. The 24-year-old will sit on the bench at the ready tonight in the season debut of Hockey Night in Canada.

Now in his third season with UofT, Bishop played his QMJHL career mostly with the Saint John Sea Dogs:

 Bishop finished his junior career with the Summerside Capitals of the Maritime Junior A Hockey League (MJAHL)…racked up a .930 save percentage over 12 regular season games and a .950 save percentage through eight playoff games in 2017-18…spent three seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), mostly with the Saint John Sea Dogs before being moved to the Quebec Remparts and Val-d’Or Foreurs in 2016-17…In 2015-16, Bishop amassed a .905 save percentage over 25 games, helping the Sea Dogs to the post season.

It’s a lovely story for a kid whose NHL dream didn’t quite work out, although the Leafs organization likely isn’t as thrilled as tonight’s broadcasters and the viewing audience will be. A unique (one might say “Leafy”) set of circumstances has left the team unable to use a normal recall or an emergency recall on Michael Hutchinson from the AHL:

  • Goaltender Petr Mrazek is out ~14 days with a groin injury.
  • Carrying 13 forwards and seven defensemen (with Auston Matthews still out recovering), their extra healthy roster player, defenseman Timothy Liljegren, is needed in the lineup tonight as Justin Holl is sick. “Holl has cold symptoms and his PCR test hasn’t come back yet,” reports Kristen Shilton.
  • The Leafs are within $850k (league min. salary + $100k) of the cap ceiling.
  • Per the CBA, under the above condition, they need to play a game with fewer than 20 players before they can trigger an emergency recall. Therefore, Hutchinson can’t be recalled until after the game (he will be eligible to back up on Monday vs. NYR).
  • There are two players on the Leaf roster playing on entry-level contracts who could’ve been sent down without needing to clear waivers first in order to make space for a standard recall of Hutchinson — Rasmus Sandin and Liljegren — but the illness to Holl would’ve meant playing a defenseman short in order to go this route.

For those keeping track of the Leafs’ injury situation just two games into the year:

  • Ilya Mikheyev is out a minimum of eight weeks with a broken thumb requiring surgery
  • Auston Matthews has missed the first three games due to his recovery from wrist surgery
  • New acquisition Petr Mrazek pulled his groin in his second period as a Leaf and is currently out
  • Justin Holl has picked up an illness, triggering a series of events that led to signing a university goalie to an ATO

Never a dull moment in Leafland.