Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Maple Leafs place enforcer Frazer McLaren on waivers

Toronto Maple Leaf Frazer McLaren (38) tugs on New York Islander Matt Martin's (17) jersey before ref stepped in to keep them from fighting during NHL game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New York Islanders at the Air Canada Centre on Nov 19 2013.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Team truculence just took a hit.

The Toronto Maple Leafs placed Frazer McLaren, one of their two enforcers, on waivers on Monday afternoon, paving the way for him to be sent to the minors.

The move will also free up cap space for centre Dave Bolland to finally come off long-term injured reserve. Based on the current roster, the Leafs will have nearly $700,000 in cap space with McLaren gone and Bolland in the lineup.

Story continues below advertisement

That frees up a bit of breathing room for GM Dave Nonis to pursue options before Wednesday's trade deadline.

McLaren was part of a "Bash Brothers" strategy the Leafs used a year ago whereby coach Randy Carlyle dressed two fighters on his fourth line and his team led the league in majors by a large margin.

That hasn't worked out this season, and McLaren has played sparingly after signing a two year contract in the off-season, dressing in only 26 of 62 games and averaging four minutes of ice time a game.

He has no points and just three shots in goal in 106 minutes of ice time overall. And Troy Bodie, who has been a much more well rounded enforcer type (with seven points and 27 shots on goal in a similar number of games), has played well enough to push him out of the lineup.

It's not out of the question McLaren gets claimed by another team looking for some toughness, just as the Leafs claimed him a year ago, but with so many teams tight against the cap and the fact he has another year on his contract (at $700,000), it's a better bet he ends up with the Toronto Marlies.

Overall, this is a positive move for a team that needs to start getting more out of its depth lines. Toronto has dressed likely the weakest fourth unit in the NHL this season and played them less than all but one other team, something that has only contributed to their defensive issues.

With Bolland in the lineup, it's possible the Leafs have skilled players on even their third and fourth lines, depending on how often Colton Orr enters the lineup. Toronto has some options in the minors in Carter Ashton and Peter Holland that could provide some offence in 10 minutes a game, but Carlyle has thus far been reluctant to move away from strictly using checkers in those roles.

Story continues below advertisement

Time will tell if moving out McLaren is a sign of change on that front.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Hockey Reporter

James joined The Globe as an editor and reporter in the sports department in 2005 and now covers the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. More

Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨