TORONTO – The Maple Leafs have recalled defenceman John-Michael Liles from the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.
Liles becomes the eighth defenceman on the roster, and his promotion raises the question of the immediate future of 19-year-old Morgan Rielly.
Rielly was not named to Team Canada’s selection camp roster for the upcoming IIHF World Junior Championship, but the Leafs did not rule out the possibility of letting him go. General manager Dave Nonis told Team Canada that it was highly unlikely Rielly would be released for the tournament but allowed for the possibility if Toronto’s roster situation changed.
Rielly was a healthy scratch for the Leafs’ 3-2 overtime victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night. He had a failed clear that led to the San Jose Sharks’ game-winning goal two days earlier.
“There is a learning curve that takes place to play defence in the NHL from playing major junior hockey,” coach Randy Carlyle said. “We understand that. There are going to be speed bumps along the way. There are going to peaks and valleys.”
Liles has three goals and 10 assists in 16 games with the Marlies. He has yet to appear in a game this season for the Leafs.