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Maple Leafs Place Marner, Engvall on COVID-19 Protocol

Mitch Marner returned for a pair of games after missing most of December with a shoulder injury.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will be short a pair of forwards for at least the first game of their upcoming road trip.

Mitch Marner and Pierre Engvall have been placed on COVID-19 protocol, the team announced before practice on Friday.

Marner missed most of last month with a shoulder injury he received after a collision with teammate Jake Muzzin during a practice on Dec. 3.

Marner has six goals and 15 assists in 26 games this season. He has no points in his two games since his return from injury.

Engvall has four goals and six assists in 10 games this season. The forward has earned praise from Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe recently for his reliability in a shutdown role. His effort has kept him among the everyday players on the active roster.

The team was forced to make adjustments without Marner and Engvall at practice on Friday. Nick Ritchie, who was placed on waivers on Thursday, was back skating on the team's third line.

Ritchie cleared waivers on Friday.

Ondrej Kase skated before practice and appeared set to join the team for the main session but departed approximately 15 minutes before the session began. Ilya Mikheyev, who was set to practice with the bottom-six forwards, switched jerseys, from white to blue, once Kase departed.

Kase missed the last game with an undisclosed injury. According to Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe, the Czech forward "tweaked something" in the gym prior to practice on Tuesday.

Kase is not expected to be in the lineup when the team visits the Colorado Avalanche on Friday, according to Keefe. The forward will accompany the team on the four-game road trip that also passes through Las Vegas, Arizona and St. Louis  

The Maple Leafs have had 17 active-roster players land on COVID-19 protocol at some point this season, in addition to three members of the coaching staff and four support staff.

Toronto visit the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

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