The Toronto Maple Leafs may be getting a much-needed boost prior to Saturday night's game against the Montreal Canadiens. Head coach Randy Carlyle told the media that center Dave Bolland is likely to return to the Leafs' lineup for the first time since Nov. 2.
Bolland was injured when his ankle was severely cut by Zach Kassian's skate blade in a game against the Vancouver Canucks. At the time of the injury, Bolland had been enjoying a rather productive start to the year with 10 points in 15 games. The former Chicago Blackhawks forward, who was part of two Stanley Cup teams while there, would provide a boost to center depth for a Maple Leafs team in need of keeping pace in the playoff race.
"He's progressed along over the last three weeks to a point where the doctors feel, medically, that he's close to 100 percent ready and we just have to make a decision on the last assessment here," Carlyle told reporters today (via NHL.com).
It's hard to know just how effective Bolland will be coming off such a significant injury, which included a lacerated tendon. Expecting him to be able to play at the level he did at the time he was injured would be awfully wishful thinking.
Either way, it's good for the Leafs to have a veteran with Stanley Cup experience to provide some energy in the bottom of the lineup and contribute the odd point if he's healthy enough. He won't be a savior, but it's beneficial to have him this time of year.