Two dominant showings at the minor-league level may have bought Nic Petan more time with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Or at least one more look.
Recalled from the Toronto Marlies this morning, Petan will dress in place of fourth-line winger Dymtro Timashov on Tuesday versus the Los Angeles Kings. He will skate alongside Nick Shore and Frederik Gauthier as Jason Spezza is scratched to facilitate the return of captain John Tavares.
Petan’s unexpected resurfacing comes on the heels of a two-goal, five-point effort in a weekend set for the Marlies. While it’s easy to point to that production as the reason for his return, the Maple Leafs have apparently liked what they have seen from him all along.
“We have liked what (Petan) has done the whole time,” head coach Mike Babcock said Tuesday. “We liked that he’s worked hard. He didn’t ask to go down, but he wanted to play. We wanted to get him in. He went down and played well. He’s back. He gets a good opportunity tonight, we’ll see how it goes.”
Babcock reiterated that the decision was about giving Petan a look, not to punish either of the players coming out.
“No one did anything wrong.”
Petan’s future with the organization appeared very much in question last week when he received the minor-league assignment after clearing waivers and rumours surfaced about the Leafs exploring trade options to offload the talented winger.
While he’s still a long shot to play a meaningful role, as the imminent return of Zach Hyman will force the Maple Leafs to trim essentially all the remaining fat on the roster, the Maple Leafs aren’t yet ready to quit on Petan.
Which is something we couldn’t confidently say last week, and before his offensive explosion with the Marlies.
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