The Toronto Maple Leafs placed Nick Ritchie on waivers.
It hasn’t been reported on what the Toronto Maple Leafs intend to do with Ritchie should he clear but they have a few options. They can either assign him to the temporary Taxi Squad or send him directly down to the Marlies. There is also the possibility (although slim) that he and his $2.5M cap hit gets claimed.
If he does clear, he has 30 days where he is “waivers exempt” and can be sent down/recalled at will. However, with the Leafs current cap constraints, it makes his chances of getting recalled slim. (Or at least it did until Mitch Marner was placed in Covid Protocol).
Ritchie hasn’t lived up to his contract, and with the Leafs pretty much over the cap when their roster is fully healthy, this was an obvious move to make.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Nick Ritchie
Ritchie was signed this past summer to a two-year contract, worth $5M ($2.5M AAV). Since signing that deal he’s played in 30 games , scoring one goal and adding seven assists for eight points.
Admittedly, I was optimistic about the prospect of him playing as a complementary winger in the top-six but that hasn’t went as planned. Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe gave him multiple opportunities at different spots throughout the lineup and he wasn’t a good fit.
Although most fans would argue he was turning a corner after scoring five points in his last 10 games, it might have been too little too late. Especially now with Ilya Mikheyev coming back and on fire, adding another winger that can play a versatile role, it clearly edged Ritchie out of the lineup. If you pile on the fact that Ritchie makes the most out of anyone in the Leafs bottom-six, it makes this move all the more justifiable.
It’s sad to see what is likely the end of Nick Ritchie in a Toronto Maple Leafs uniform. I, as well as many fans were very excited to see it work. Thankfully, the other off-season acquisitions by Kyle Dubas seem to have worked out well. Hopefully, they’re able to utilize his cap space and go on a run.