Getting the youngest of the locked-out Maple Leafs ice time is vital of course, but their best forward needs his game face on should a shortened season be played.

So it should be seen as good news for the club that left winger Joffrey Lupul is getting back in uniform for the first time since separating his shoulder in March — even if Brian Burke can’t comment.

Lupul will join KHL team Avtomobilist, a last-place outfit based in the southwestern Russian city of Yekaterinburg. He was the Leafs’ most consistent performer last season with 67 points in 66 games and right on the tail of fellow all-star game participant Phil Kessel in team scoring until the injury.

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