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Nikita Soshnikov Recalled by Toronto Maple Leafs, Frederik Gauthier Loaned to Marlies

Nikita Soshnikov

The Toronto Maple Leafs have recalled energetic winger Nikita Soshnikov today. Center Frederik Gauthier was loaned to the Toronto Marlies in a corresponding move.

Soshnikov currently sits second on the Marlies in scoring collecting five goals and seven assists through 15 AHL games this season. His 12 points are second to Ben Smith‘s 15.

The move comes as little surprise as it was learned recently that Soshnikov had a clause in his contract that afforded him the option to return to the KHL had he not reached an NHL roster by November 14th, 2017.

Nikita Soshnikov Recalled by Toronto Maple Leafs, Frederik Gauthier Loaned to Marlies

On the surface, this satisfies the clause in Soshnikov’s contract. However, the seemingly innocuous move creates a number questions. First of all, can Soshnikov crack the lineup? If not, how long can the Leafs keep in the press box? Has Soshnikov’s contract allowed him to leap-frog some players who might normally sit higher on the depth chart? What does this mean for fellow wingers on the roster bubble like Josh Leivo and Kasperi Kapanen?  Is the Soshnikov recall the first domino in a series that leads to a trade involving a Leafs pending UFA such as James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak or Leo Komarov?

Another Twist?

To further complicate matters for the Leafs, Soshnikov’s waiver exempt status is nearly exhausted. Soshnikov currently stands at a total of 67 games played in the NHL.

In addition to the above-noted contract stipulation, Should Soshnikov reach his 70th game played, he will no longer be able to freely transition between the Toronto Maple Leafs and their AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies without being subject to waivers.

Exemption Determination
  • Waivers signing age: 22
    • Position: skater
      • Years Exempt: 3
      • NHL Games Played Exempt: 70


The Leafs currently sit tied with the New Jersey Devils for second in the Eastern Conference with 24 pts through 19 games. They trail only the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning. As a result of their strong first quarter, the Leafs will likely enter the buyers market. The Leafs are armed with a stocked pantry of young prospects, in addition to a number of quality NHL players on expiring contracts. Consequently, the onus will fall on Lou Lamoriello and the Leafs management team to turn some of these assets into the missing cogs in the wheel that will propel the Leafs to playoff success. Will that mean moving on from veteran players like Bozak, van Riemsdyk or Komarov? Or would the Leafs rather move prospects like Soshnikov, Leivo or Kapanen?

Thanksgiving in the U.S. often marks the unofficial 1st quarter mark in the NHL schedule. This is the time of year many teams reflect on their performance and begin to align their rosters to move into the buyers or sellers market in preparations for the playoffs. Lou Lamoriello and the Leafs management team find themselves in a rather enviable position of having too many talented forwards. Can they parlay their forward depth into help on the blue line? Should they move out expiring contracts? Trade up and coming prospects? Furthermore, what is the trade market value of these commodities? These are a few of the questions we’ll look to find answers for in the coming weeks.


TORONTO, CANADA – MARCH 07: Nikita Soshnikov #26 of the Toronto Maple Leafs looks on during an NHL game against the Detroit Red Wings at Air Canada Centre on March 7, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)


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