Toronto — Alex Bishop is set to live out his dream.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have their fingers crossed the University of Toronto goalie doesn’t move from the end of the bench.
Bishop will dress as backup to starter Jack Campbell (Port Huron) on Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators.
Former Red Wing Petr Mrazek is sidelined because of a groin injury, and the team is facing a salary cap squeeze as a result.
The situation is compounded by defenseman Justin Holl being unavailable to play due to illness.
Toronto could have sent a player that doesn’t require waivers to the American Hockey League and recalled goaltender Michael Hutchinson – the club’s third option last season – as the No. 2 behind Campbell, if Holl was available.
The organization instead signed the 24-year-old Bishop, with his three seasons of Quebec Major Junior Hockey League experience, to an amateur tryout and hopes Campbell gets through the evening unscathed.
“There’s a lot of things that, to be honest, aren’t my department, and I’m not really aware,” was Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe’s attempt to explain the rationale.
“But really it just comes down to the fact that the flat (salary) cap has created some situations here that are a lot more difficult to manage even than they were a year ago when they had the taxi squad and a third goalie.”
Holl has cold symptoms and test results for COVID-19 had yet to come back as of Saturday morning, Keefe said, but even if they’re negative, Holl wasn’t well enough to suit up.