TORONTO– Dallas Eakins confirmed that the Toronto Marlies blue line will be down another man after it was announced Paul Ranger is sidelined with signs related to a concussion.
Ranger last suited up on Jan. 13th against the St. John’s IceCaps, however he left that game in the first period and did not return. The 28-year-old also sat out Toronto’s two games this past weekend and didn’t practice with the club on Tuesday morning.
A return to the lineup is still unknown.
“(Ranger) still has concussion symptoms,” said Eakins. “He’s improved greatly, but you get the same thing every time, ‘I just don’t feel right.’ So until he feels right were not going to put him out there.”
While the Whitby, Ont. native hasn’t skated in nine days, he has returned to off-ice workouts, which is good news to Eakins.
“He’s working out, which is a great sign,” said Eakins. “It’s when they’re doing nothing that could really worry me.”
With Jake Gardiner, Korbinian Holzer, Mark Fraser and Mike Kostka summoned to the Leafs and Ranger out indefinitely, Jesse Blacker is the only healthy defenceman remaining from the Marlies opening night lineup back in October.
The six blue liners that Toronto will likely call upon for Thursday’s game against the Lake Erie Monsters are: Simon Gysbers, Dylan Yeo, Mike Mottau, Ryan Grimshaw, Corey Syvret and Blacker.
Gardiner, who has been sidelined for the last six weeks with concussion-like symptoms, is expected to return to action as soon as the doctors clear him. With his return the Leafs will have nine healthy defencemen, which means one could be sent back to their AHL club. Holzer is the only one that would not have to clear waivers.
In 31 games this season, Ranger has four goals, 20 points and leads the club with a plus-17 rating.