TORONTO - The Maple Leafs are adding some blueline insurance as their playoff run hits the critical stage.
Defenceman Matt Lashoff, a key performer for the Marlies in their second-half success, was expected to clear recallable waivers at noon Tuesday, in time for the back-to-back road games in Carolina and Florida. Since trading Tomas Kaberle, and before him, Francois Beauchemin, the Leafs had been relying on Brett Lebda and Mike Komisarek as their fifth and sixth defencemen. But they donít want to be caught short-handed on the road as the games pile up and injuries become more of a risk.
Lashoff could stay the balance of the Leafsí 13 games, as he represents the second of their four American Hockey League call-ups, permissable while the Marlies are active. But even if claimed before Tuesday, the New York state native canít be utilized by another club this season as the NHL trade deadline has passed.
Lashoff was acquired from Tampa Bay last summer in a trade for minor leaguers Alex Berry and Stefano Giliati. He had some NHL experience with Boston and Tampa, so it was thought he might crack the Leafs at camp. But the former first rounder of the Bruins from 2005 has put in a season of tutoring under coach Dallas Eakins and has been getting good marks of late.
The 6-foot-2 Lashoff had 28 points in a team-high 69 games and was a plus four, as well as leading the Marlies with 137 penalty minutes.