After what seemed like an eternity, Yegor Korshkov finally got the opportunity to play at the NHL in the Sabres vs Maple Leafs face off. The game held on the 17th of February this year- this makes it his third professional outing.
The left-winger had previously spent five years in the KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) and half a season in the AHL (American Hockey League).
The 23-year-old Korshkov was initially selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round of the 2016 NHL Draft. It was not until 2019 the hockey club announced that he had been signed to a two-year entry-level contract.
Photo Credit: TSG Photo
The forward also signed a PTO (Professional Tryout) to play with the Toronto Marlies in the AHL. He will be joining the club as they battle with the other teams in the AHL playoffs for the Calder cup this year.
Prior to the game with Buffalo Sabres, the Toronto Maple leafs recalled Korshkov from the Toronto Marlies. From the look of things, it seemed they called in the cavalry ahead of a major game but there’s more to it than that. Let’s delve into the factors at play.
Korshkov joining Maple Leafs in 2016 did not sit well with the Leafs fans. They were disappointed at the pick because Alex DeBrincat was also on the board who happens to be a dynamic playmaker and scorer.
Alex’s performance at the OHL was absolutely phenomenal scoring 332 points in three years. The only drawback was his height, he stood at a modest 5’7”.
The numbers Alex posted was more impressive than Korshkov but Korshkov’s height of 6’4” was better suited for the NHL, making Korshkov the preferred choice. In 2019, Korshkov made the move from Russia to join the Toronto Marlies in their Playoffs last season.
He played nine games for the team that season and recorded one point. In all the 35 games with the Marlies, he was able to net a total of 14 goals, seven assists as well as 22 penalty minutes.
February this year, the Maple Leafs summoned Korshkov from the Marlies and the story got a little murky.
However, Korshkov wasn’t the only one recalled. His teammate, Mason Marchment, was also recalled ahead of the game against Buffalo Sabres. This implied that the two forwards were called at a go – nothing mysterious there.
The odd thing that caused speculations was that both of them were called but the club did not announce that it would be leaving out any player in the lineup. The result of this action was a player surplus on the Leaf’s roster – this put the club way above the 23 player limit.
It is safe to assume that forward Andreas Johnsson who suffered a knee injury in the game against Colorado Avalanche has been placed on LTIR. The club gets a total of $24 million LTIR relief, leaving them with a sum of $8.8 million.
All these raised another set of speculations – that this move is either a safety measure for their injured player who may likely miss a couple of games or there’s a trade on the horizon. In the long run, Maple Leafs ultimately put Johnsson on LITR and also indicated an interest to bid on Blake Coleman.
A quick guess as to why they delayed their roster announcement could be because they were still working on it. Regarding Blake Coleman’s bid, Tampa Bay Lightning emerged the winner.
Leading up to Korshkov’s call up were some perplexing events. Korshkov’s agent, Dan Milstein was the first to announce the move on his Twitter account. Next, the agent did something strange, he deleted the post within the hour.
Who knows whether he was made to remove the tweet by The Leafs’ big shots or maybe he realized he should have waited for the team to announce the news to the public first.
Maybe Maple Leaf probably held back on the announcement because there was no assurance that Korshkov was going to play at all despite the call-up. He could have been recalled just to sit him in the pressbox. No matter what could have been at work, the good news is Korshkov’s recall land him on the ice and not as a mere spectator in the press box.