Leafs recall defenseman Marshall Rifai from the Toronto Marlies
Photo credit: Daily Faceoff

Leafs announce a demotion and a roster recall on Sunday

Published February 18, 2024 at 12:54
BY DEAN CHAUDHRY

The Toronto Maple Leafs are now suddenly very shorthanded on the back end with Morgan Rielly suspended, Mark Giordano tending to a family matter, Conor Timmins sidelined indefinitely with mononucleosis, and having just lost William Lagesson last night to an upper-body injury.

With not many able-bodied defensemen left on the roster, the Leafs had to dip into the Toronto Marlies pipeline for help on Sunday.

Sheldon Keefe said that Lagesson would be shelved for the foreseeable future, so in response, the team has called up defenseman Marshall Rifai from the AHL and in a corresponding move, they also loaned Dennis Hildeby back to the minors.




The Leafs jumped out to an early lead against the Anaheim Ducks last night and never looked back. Fortunately, it wasn't a close game, so there were very little consequences to playing Mitch Marner as a defenseman in lieu of Lagesson. Nevertheless, for a skilled playmaker, Marner impressed himself, his teammates, and his coaches shifting to a new position mid-game and looking very good in the process. That worked in a pinch, but the Leafs aren't paying Marner to be a defenseman and so he was right back up top again at practice this morning, with Rifai filling the hole on the blueline left in Lagesson's absence.

Rifai is a 25-year-old defenseman who spent 4 years at Harvard University before signing an AHL deal last year. In his first taste of professional hockey with the Marlies, Rifai has tallied 4 goals and 16 points in 69 games in all and currently has 11 points in his first 34 contests this season.

He won't light up the scoresheet, but he has a lot of snarl in his game as evidenced by his 48 PIMs in the minors, he can deliver the boom, and can skate very well.


Rifai is also set to become just the 2nd player in franchise history to adorn the #83 on his jersey - the first being Cody Ceci in 2020.

POLL
February 18   |   669 answers
Leafs announce a demotion and a roster recall on Sunday

Will Marshall Rifai end up playing any games with the Maple Leafs this season?

Yes42964.1 %
No13119.6 %
Who?10916.3 %
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