Dave Bolland could return to the Toronto Maple Leafs before the Olympic break, according to head coach Randy Carlyle.
Carlyle told reporters Thursday the centre has a “50/50” chance of returning to game action prior to the two-week break in the NHL schedule that begins Feb. 9 and goes until Feb. 25.
Bolland has been out of the lineup since November with an ankle tendon laceration. The 27-year-old has been skating regularly and showing marked improvement in his road to recovery.
The Etobicoke, Ont., native skated with his teammates at Monday’s practice for the first time in months.
In 15 games this season, Bolland registered six goals, 10 points, 18 penalty minutes and was a force in the defensive zone. He was acquired by the Leafs in an off-season trade with the Chicago Blackhawks where three draft picks (a second-rounder and two fourth-rounders) went back the other way.
In other Leafs news, Carlyle says David Clarkson is expected to accompany the team on its road trip next week in Florida next week. The 29-year-old was placed on injured reserve Jan. 17 to have a bursa sac in his elbow removed and his recovery is taking longer than originally thought.