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