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Defenceman Timothy Liljegren with ECHL team on conditioning stint not expected to last beyond tonight's road game in Maine.
Maybe they’ll need a bigger bus.
The Newfoundland Growlers’ roster, already inflated by a number of assignments from the Toronto Marlies earlier this week, got a bit bigger today with word Toronto Maple Leafs’ top prospect Timothy Liljegren has been assigned to the ECHL team and will play tonight as the Growlers open up a road trip in Portland, Me., against the Mariners.
Mind you, Liljegren’s presence with the Growlers will be short — he’ll only be on the bus from hotel to rink — as the plan is for this to be a one-game conditioning assignment; the 19-year-old , who was the Maple Leafs’ first-round draft pick in 2017, has been sidelined since early December by an injury that caused him to miss playing in his second world junior championship with Sweden.
And with the American Hockey League Marlies not playing again until Saturday, when they open up a road trip in Charlotte, N.C., tonight’s game gives Liljegren to start finding his game legs again.
The announcement of Liljegren’s conditioning stint came a day after five players were assigned to Newfoundland from the Marlies.
Goaltenders Michael Garteig and Eamon McAdam, defenceman Kristians Rubins and forwards Hudson Elynuik and Griffen Molino all were sent to the Growlers.
McAdam has been with the Marlies the most the of the season, but the return to health of Maple Leafs’ netminders Frederick Anderson and Garret Sparks pushed Michael Hutchison down to the Marlies, where he will be paired with Kasimir Kaskisuo.
That situation led to both McAdam and Garteig, who had been the Growlers’ No. 1 netminder before a call-up earlier this month, being returned to Newfoundland.
Rubins and Elynuik had only been with the Marlies for a matter of days and hadn’t seen any AHL action, while Molino is back for a second stint with the ECHL team.
With the moves, defenceman Stefan Leblanc and forward Emerson Clark are the only players to have skated in the ECHL this season who are currently on the AHL Toronto roster.
The Growlers (25-11-1) carry a five-game winning streak into tonight’s game against a fellow expansionclub. The Mariners (20-16-1) won the team’s first-ever meeting, but Newfoundland has prevailed in their four matchups since.
The game is being broadcast online at mixlr.com/NLGrowlers, with Chris Ballard on the play-by-play.