Sosh­nikov a Leaf again

Rus­sian called back up to bigs with KHL move loom­ing

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Nikita Sosh­nikov made a solid im­pres­sion in re­turn­ing to NHL form af­ter battling back from a se­vere con­cus­sion over the sum­mer. Now that he’s back with the Maple Leafs, he needs to make one more im­pres­sion — on head coach Mike Bab­cock.

Sosh­nikov was called up from the AHL’S Mar­lies on Tues­day, just be­fore a con­tract clause would have kicked in al­low­ing him to re­turn to Rus­sia’s KHL.

But there’s no in­di­ca­tion of when he will play for the Leafs.

“We were no­ti­fied (Mon­day night) that he was be­ing called up,” Sosh­nikov’s agent, Dan Mil­stein, said Tues­day. “There are no ex­pec­ta­tions what­so­ever. Nikita’s goal is to play in the NHL and he’s kept to his sched­ule. He’s worked in­cred­i­bly hard off the ice to get back.”

Sosh­nikov suf­fered a head in­jury in March, when he took two hits from the Bruins’ Zdeno Chara.

He was di­ag­nosed with a con­cus­sion soon af­ter by team med­i­cal staff. The re­cov­ery was rough. The 24-year-old winger “couldn’t sleep for a lot of the sum­mer,” Mil­stein said. “He’d wake up at 3 in the morn­ing and he couldn’t go back to sleep again.”

Af­ter the re­hab, Sosh­nikov re­ported to Leafs camp in Septem­ber with a whole new fight on his hands: try­ing to re­tain his job af­ter play­ing 56 NHL games last sea­son. Ul­ti­mately, Sosh­nikov was sent down but told to “keep your foot on the pedal.”

The Leafs sent Fred­erik Gau­thier back to the Mar­lies to make room for Sosh­nikov, who can still re­quest a loan to the KHL if the Leafs re­turn him to the AHL at any point this sea­son.

Torstar News Ser­vice

nikita sosh­nikov

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