Riley Nash was out for lunch along with his spouse Clare and two-month-old son Rhett when Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen phoned to inform him he had been traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs
“I hadn’t fairly thought it via the place a group like this or one other group near the cap (that) it’d truly assist them in hindsight,” Nash stated.
Nash final performed on Apr. 4 when he suffered a knee sprain towards the Florida Panthers. The Blue Jackets introduced that he was out for four-to-six weeks.
That’s when the Leafs noticed a gap.
On Apr. 10, Toronto acquired the ahead from Columbus in change for a conditional seventh-round decide within the 2022 NHL Draft.
Upon buying the 32-year-old, the Leafs needed to make a collection of strikes to suit him onto the roster. Goaltender Frederik Andersen, out the lineup with a knee damage for practically a month, moved to the long-term injured reserve listing (LTIR). That allowed Toronto so as to add Nash earlier than he too was moved to LTIR.
In doing so, the Leafs acquired an skilled middle who they’re fairly acquainted with and it did not price them something towards the wage cap.
“We had been just a little bit shocked at first,” Nash stated. “When you type of let it set in, you notice you’re going to a franchise like Toronto and a fan base like this and a group and the construct up they’ve had lately, you type of flip into just a little child once more in regards to the pleasure that lies forward.”
The Leafs are fairly acquainted with Nash’s defensive skill. He helped shut down Toronto throughout the 2020 qualying-round collection. He additionally helped the Boston Bruins defeat the Leafs of their 2018 first-round collection.
Within the age of COVID, Nash’s transition to his new membership has been something however clean. First he needed to start a seven-day quarantine as mandated by the league an Canadian federal authorities. As soon as that was accomplished, the Leafs had been on the street in Vancouver and Winnipeg as he stayed again in Toronto for his rehabilitation. When the group returned, Nash stated there was a minor incident that compelled him to quarantine for one more couple of days.
“It was type of unusual the place it was three-and-a-half weeks after the commerce deadline and I used to be lastly capable of meet the blokes and get to know the group just a little bit,”.
Final week, Nash took half in his first full apply with the membership and he has slotted in because the group’s third-line middle heading into Recreation 1 of Toronto’s first-round collection with the Montreal Canadiens.
“It brings a special look and a special choice inside our bottom-six (forwards),” Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe stated on Sunday. “We’re going to get him concerned straight away and simply depend upon the truth that he’s (a) very good participant, (an) skilled man within the NHL and the playoffs particularly and belief that’s he going to suit proper in.”
Though the Leafs had been intelligent of their skill to land the skilled ahead, the one actual price was a seventh-round decide (it turns to a sixth-round decide ought to Nash play in 25 % or extra of the group’s 2021 playoff video games) and an absence of reps along with his new membership.
If it is something like Nick Foligno’s expertise with the Leafs to this point, it might take just a few video games to be taught the system.
“I discover they make a number of possession performs” Nash stated. “Undoubtedly going to be a bit bizarre (and) not as pure to start with (however) my line mates have been nice.”
Nash is projected to skate with Ilya Mikheyev and Alex Kerfoot as his wingers for Recreation 1 towards the Montreal Canadiens. He is additionally anticipated for use recurrently on the group’s penalty kill.
At apply, Nash was paired on a PK unit with former Jackets teammate Foligno.
The gamers had been each traded from the identical group to Toronto simply 36 hours aside.
“I used to be messaging him after as a result of I had heard some rumors and Twitter that the Leafs had been clearly ,” Nash stated. “And I used to be like ‘it would be the best factor if we might find yourself collectively once more’ and fortuitously we had been.”
Foligno has since settled in because the second-line winger alongside forwards John Tavares and William Nylander.
Nash must show to be a fast examine when he slots in for Recreation 1. Nevertheless it price the Leafs so little to get him that there’s solely upside to his acquisition.
“When it is playoff time it does not matter,” Nash stated. “Let’s simply hit the bottom operating.”
Wickenheiser promoted to Sr. Director of Participant Growth, Goyette added to employees
The Toronto Maple Leafs introduced on Monday that the membership elevated Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser to the function of Senior Director of Participant Growth.
Wickenheiser had already been working in abilities improvement with the Leafs as Assistant Director of Participant Growth since 2018. She not too long ago accomplished her schooling on the College of Calgary’s Cumming Faculty of Medication in 2021.
“To have her take a big step right into a management place right here now inside the participant improvement program is a large win for our group,” Keefe stated of Wickenheiser. “I am unable to converse excessive sufficient about Hayley.”
Wickenheiser stated that Leafs GM Kyle Dubas gave her the choice of hiring her No. 2 and that is when she selected Danielle Goyette.
“I cellphone and stated ‘how’d you prefer to work for the Leafs, your favorite group?'” Wickenheiser stated.
Goyette will function Director of Participant Growth after serving as head coach of the College of Calgary Dinos girls’s hockey program since 2007.
Bogosian inching nearer to return
The Leafs might ice a completely wholesome roster by the point the puck drops for Recreation 1. The one participant in limbo was defenseman Zach Bogosian, who suffered a shoulder damage final month.
On Monday, Bogosian swapped his non-contact crimson jersey for a black common package.
“He isn’t fairly there but from what I am advised however clearly the extra reps that he will get then he’ll get even nearer,” Keefe stated on Monday
Based on TSN’s Darren Dreger, Bogosian acquired his medical clearance to return.
The Leafs will take Tuesday off earlier than returning to the ice on Wednesday, their last apply earlier than the playoffs.
Defenseman Ben Hutton missed apply for a second straight day, Keefe stated he has been out with a Non-COVID, non-hockey medical situation that they may proceed to watch.