Toronto Maple Leafs Set Return Date For Morgan Rielly

After more than five weeks, the Toronto Maple Leafs will be getting their top defenseman back in the lineup as of Thursday night in Phoenix to take on the Arizona Coyotes. 

Morgan Rielly has been out since Nov. 21st with a sprained MCL after a collision with the New York Islanders' Kyle Palmieri. He was expected, at the time, to miss 4-to-6 weeks due to the injury, so his return at this point is right on target. 

How exactly he'll be worked back into a well-oiled machine remains to be seen.  Rielly has always served as the point man on the No. 1 power play unit, but the Leafs have been going with a five-forward alignment on the PP of late. At practice today, we may have gotten our answer to that question. 

Rielly was skating with the second power play unit, while the No. 1 unit was left untouched. He was also paired with Timothy Liljegren during today's skate.

It also may take some time for the 28-year-old to build back up to a full workload. He was, at the time of his injury, (and still is) leading the team in minutes played, with 23:00 TOI. Rielly also still leads all Toronto defenseman with 16 points, in his 20 games played. 

Photo: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports