Soshnikov a Leaf again
Russian called back up to bigs with KHL move looming
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.