Maple Leafs recall defenceman Valiev to replace Brennan

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock talks about the annual outdoor game and the play of the young Maple Leafs call ups.

TORONTO — Rinat Valiev could become the ninth different player to make his NHL debut for the Maple Leafs this season.

Valiev was recalled from the AHL’s Toronto Marlies on an emergency basis Friday morning, replacing T.J. Brennan, who played for the club in a 4-3 win over the Islanders on Wednesday. He is expected to play his first NHL game for the club Saturday night in Ottawa.

Just 20, Valiev is a third round pick of the Leafs (68th overall) from the 2014 NHL draft. He joins an already youthful defence which includes a trio of 22-year-olds in Morgan Rielly, Frank Corrado and Connor Carrick.

Toronto recently shut down minute-eating defenceman Matt Hunwick with season-ending sports hernia surgery, trading veterans Dion Phaneuf and Roman Polak last month.

The Leafs' most experienced remaining defenceman is 25-year-old Jake Gardiner, who recently played his 300th NHL game.

Others to make their debuts this season are William Nylander, Kasperi Kapanen, Nikita Soshnikov, Viktor Loov, Garret Sparks, Zach Hyman, and Byron Froese.