Maple Leafs start clearing space for Marner's return by waiving Shore

Justin Cuthbert

With Mitch Marner inching closer to his return, the Toronto Maple Leafs have executed one of the required roster decisions that has seemed to hang over the organization since the start of the season.

And this one shouldn’t really be a surprise.

Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported Tuesday that forward Nick Shore has been placed on waivers.

Perhaps more than any other player in the organization, the circumstances changed for Shore when Sheldon Keefe replaced Mike Babcock as head coach. Shore was a mainstay under the previous regime despite being a surprise addition to the roster out of training camp, appearing 20 times through the first seven weeks of the season. But since the arrival of Keefe, Shore only dressed in his hometown of Colorado, earning healthy scratches for the four other games.

While a vote of confidence, of sorts, for other players on the bubble like Dmytro Timashov and Nic Petan, this a particularly positive sign for Jason Spezza. It seemed Babcock had made his decision at the fourth-line centre spot before Spezza ever saw meaningful time. Under Keefe, Spezza has filled out a role higher in the lineup and now seems like a sure bet to survive the cuts required to make room for Marner’s roster spot, and the footprint left by his contract.

Shore had two goals and three points in 21 total appearances with Toronto, scoring one of his two goals in his only start in that game versus the Avalanche.

Toronto is expected to make at least one more roster decision before finalizing the 23-man (or less) squad with its full complement of forwards now at the disposal of the coaching staff.

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 29: Toronto Maple Leafs Center Nick Shore (26) in warmups prior to the regular season NHL game between the Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs on October 29, 2019 at Scotiabank Arena (Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Shore was a casualty of the Leafs' roster crunch. (Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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