RALEIGH--Jay McClement wasn't brought to Toronto to score. So it is a little odd that he'll be taking a scorer's spot tonight.
But that's the way it will work against Carolina tonight when the 29-year-old veteran centre moves into Matt Frattin's position on a line with centre Nazem Kadri and winger Clarke MacArthur. McClement is a jack-of-all-trades on this Leaf team, but right wing for him is a new one.
"It's a challenge and an opportunity that I've got to take advantage of," he said today after the morning skates. "It's fun to play in different situations and different roles, and I think it's helped me get on the ice more.
"Hopefully I can be successful on the right wing too."
McClement had his most regular NHL work as the centre on Andy Murray's checking line in St. Louis for two years. In Colorado, he was stuck behind centres Paul Stastny, Ryan O'Reilly and Matt Duchene, which meant an expanded role was almost impossible.
Leaf head coach Randy Carlyle, however, clearly likes the energy and defensive responsiblity he brings, and hopes Kadri and MacArthur will at least maintain their level of play without Frattin. McClement has one goal and two assists this season.
Carlyle said defenceman Carl Gunnerson, who has missed the last six games with a hip injury, did not accompany the team to North Carolina in order to get extra massage work done. The backliner could be back as early as Saturday against Ottawa, which would mean one of the current six-pack would have to come out.
"A good problem," smiled Carlyle.
Jussi Rynnas, as expected, will back up Ben Scrivens in the Leaf net.