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Maple Leafs' Nick Ritchie Skates After Stint on COVID-19 Protocol

The Toronto Maple Leafs' forward was placed in COVID-19 protocol while the team was in Arizona last week.

NEW YORK -- Nick Ritchie rejoined his teammates ahead of their game against the New York Rangers on Wednesday.

The Toronto Maple Leafs forward took part in the team's optional skate at Madison Square Garden. He will not play on Wednesday and stayed on the ice late with assistant coaches to work on some conditioning drills.

"I think he had been feeling pretty good it'll be a short amount of time to get him up and running, I would think," Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said of Ritchie. "But as we've talked about, every player that comes back from these breaks or deals with COVID recovery differently."

Ritchie was one of three players the Leafs placed on COVID-19 protocol on Friday. Ondrej Kase and Justin Holl remain in Arizona in quarantine.

Auston Matthews and Michael Bunting are the only everyday players on the Maple Leafs who have avoided COVID-19 protocol over the last month. An outbreak forced the team to pause activities last month while the club was in Vancouver.

Ritchie signed a two-year, $5 million contract with the Maple Leafs in July. Starting out on the first line this season with Matthews and Mitch Marner, the forward has underperformed this season.

The Leafs placed the 26-year-old on waivers earlier in the month. After clearing waivers, the club is able to clear $1.125 million of his cap hit by moving the forward onto the taxi squad or the Toronto Marlies.

Ritchie has two goals and seven assists in 33 games this season.

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