The Toronto Maple Leafs got some good news on the injury front. While Travis Dermott skated in a non-contact jersey Friday and again today Saturday, head coach Mike Babcock said the team hopes that Dermott will be back in the lineup next week, according to the Toronto Sun’s Lance Hornby. That should be welcome news for Toronto, which has lost four of their last six games with both Dermott and Jake Gardiner out of the lineup.
Dermott, who has been out for almost four weeks now with a shoulder injury, has emerged as a solid defensive option for Toronto this year and has been much missed. The 22-year-old blueliner has four goals and 17 points in 60 games this season.
The news on Gardiner wasn’t as promising. Gardiner did make an appearance at practice, but did not skate and Babcock still has no timetable on when he might be ready to return. He’s been out with a back injury since Feb. 25.
- The Ottawa Senators Zack Smith is not playing Saturday due to a back injury and will remain day-to-day, according to Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch. After a tough season a year ago when he posted just five goals and 19 points and was put on waivers at the start of the season, Smith has rebounded this year with 18 goals and 27 points. It still remains far short of his 25-goals season back in 2015-16, which propelled the Senators to sign him a year later to a four-year, $13MM deal, in which the Senators are stuck with his $3.25AAV for another two years.
- The Syracuse Crunch, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s AHL affiliate, announced that it has signed goaltender Atte Tolvanen, the brother of Nashville Predators’ star prospect Eeli Tolvanen, to an AHL contract for the remainder of the 2018-19 season. The 24-year-old goalie just finished a four-year stint at Northern Michigan University, putting up a solid .917 save percentage in his senior year along with a 2.35 GAA in 39 appearanes. In four years for Northern Michigan, he’s appeared in 137 games, with a 2.41 GAA and a .918 save percentage. He will likely serve as the backup to Eddie Pasquale, the Crunch’s starting goalie, while prospect Connor Ingram has been returned to the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL, continuing his strange demotion there.