The Toronto Maple Leafs have had their fair share of injuries already. In this Leafs Injury Report, we’ll take a look at what the Leafs are currently dealing with throughout the system.
Jack Campbell Out "Weeks"
Jack Campbell went into the season seeking to give the Leafs something they’d lacked for years: A consistent backup goalie.
Two games in, he did a phenomenal job of it. He went 2-0-0 with a .923 SV%. The Leafs finally had the flexibility to rest Frederik Andersen on any given game.
However, late in the third period against the Flames, Campbell made an awkward save that left him visibly in pain, trying to keep weight off his leg. He was later pinned down by the Calgary Flames’ Matthew Tkachuk, which left him in more discomfort. He didn’t leave the game, the Leafs hung on to win, but coach Sheldon Keefe later announced that they expected Jack Campbell to be out for weeks.
We know a couple of things. 1. Campbell’s injury is likely his leg. 2. The Leafs don’t think it’ll be an injury that keeps him out for over 24 days at the moment.
How do we know that last part? Well, the Leafs can place Campbell on LTIR without consequence, as they already have two players on there (more on that later). However, they’ve chosen not to. By placing him on LTIR, they rule out the possibility of playing him for at least the next 10 games. Instead, it seems as if they’re keeping their options open. We might see Campbell placed on LTIR after further examination, but the Leafs’ caution on it signals that he might come back sooner than expected.
This could make some weird waves if the injury is worse than expected, as the AHL’s Canadian Division is expected to try and start soon. That would leave 22-year-old Ian Scott as the Marlies’ starter and a currently unknown player as the backup (the next internal option would be recalling Maksim Zhukov from the Czech Republic). Ian Scott has not played hockey at the junior or professional level in 20 months due to injury.
Thornton, Robertson on LTIR
Early on in the season, the Leafs received two huge hits on their roster.
Veteran and first liner Joe Thornton rushed to the dressing room after what appeared to be a routine bump from the Edmonton Oilers’ Josh Archibald. Thornton appeared to have caution around his wrist. Instead, Sheldon Keefe announced that Thornton had fractured a rib, which could take him out for more than a month.
It’s just an unfortunate injury. Many medical sites have said that fractured ribs could take 4-8 weeks to heal, and that’s around what the Leafs are looking at here.
With a 700k cap hit, it’s possible that the Leafs would’ve just ridden out the storm, choosing to accumulate cap space. Except…
Nick Robertson. Four days earlier, in a game against the Ottawa Senators, Robertson took a risky hit from the Senators’ Drake Batherson beside the Leafs bench. Robertson’s right knee took an awkward twist, putting Robertson in visible pain.
The injury prompted the Leafs to waive goaltender Aaron Dell, as the Leafs couldn’t send down Robertson (can’t send down injured players) and didn’t have the cap space to call up a replacement with Dell on the roster. With the Thornton injury, the Leafs had enough incentive to utilize LTIR, which freed up space for replacements. Dell was claimed, but he would’ve been the backup to Frederik Andersen in the aftermath of Campbell’s injury.
Funny how it all works out, eh?
When the Leafs announced that they only expected Robertson out for four weeks, it was actually good news. That timetable signals that Robertson sprained his knee. No tears, nothing major like that. A worse injury could’ve been career-altering for the 19-year-old, but instead, Robertson will take at least the next month off.
As Robertson was making his debut on the fourth line, the injury didn’t mean all that much for the team’s current construction. It just means that we’re seeing more of Alexander Barabanov, who is currently pointless in six games.
Abruzzese Out for the Season
This is fairly old news at this point, but Leafs prospect Nick Abruzzese isn’t expected to play this season due to a hip injury.
Abruzzese’s 2020-21 season was already in doubt, as Harvard University had announced that its winter sports had been cancelled for the season, including hockey. Abruzzese wasn’t eligible to play in a league like the USHL, which some NCAA players are playing in due to their derailed season.
Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun reported that Abruzzese had torn his hip labrum and undergone surgery over the offseason. The injury would’ve kept him out until at least March, near the end of the NCAA season. Instead, he can take his time recovering until fall comes.
Abruzzese had an incredible freshman year at Harvard, earning a long line of accolades that included him being named to the NCAA (ECAC)’s First All-Star Team, was named a nominee for the Hobey Baker Award, and was named the ECAC’s Rookie of the Year.
We’ll next see the skilled centre play hockey when he turns 22, as he gears up for his sophomore year. Abruzzese’s freshman performance impressed so well that he was named the Leafs’ 3rd best prospect by TSN’s Craig Button (I respectfully disagree, but that’s a topic for another time).
Der-Arguchintsev Nears Return
The Leafs Injury Bug has seemingly spread around the world, but fear not! Leafs prospect Semyon Der-Arguchintsev is expected to return soon after missing over two months with an undisclosed injury, according to sportbox.ru.
So far with Torpedo of the KHL, Der-Arguchintsev has amassed 5 points in 10 games. His totals line up fairly well with his peers, as his .5 points per game put him at 4th among U21 KHLers.
Der-Arguchintsev has done a good job of adapting his game for the professional level so far. His team’s coach revealed earlier this month that they expect him back after their road trip, which came to a close on the 29th against Jokerit.
The Torpedo play their next game on February 1st against the Kunlun Red Star. It is unclear whether or not Der-Arguchintsev will return for that game, but it means that he’s very close to coming back.
Last month, it was revealed that Der-Arguchintsev will spend the entire season in the KHL. That means he will not fly to Toronto for the Marlies’ training camp, which is expected to begin sometime in February (subject to provincial approval).
- William Villeneuve’s Saint John Sea Dogs are expected to resume play on March 3rd after their games were postponed due to COVID-19.
- Joe Miller has been a routine scratch for the Chicago Steel, but don’t put too much weight into it. Remember, Miller is eligible to play for his high school right now and chose not to. In other words, he’s young, he’ll need some time.
- Kalle Kossila is expected to return to Toronto once things are cleared up for the AHL season, but for now, he’s starring with EHC Munchen of the DEL.
- As mentioned before, the Ontario government is yet to approve the AHL’s return to play plan. It’ll likely happen, but it’s just something to keep in mind as to why guys aren’t playing games/why we haven’t seen more signings.
Other than that, everything looks good! Hopefully. I won’t have to write any more of these articles (another Leafs Injury Report would mean more injuries have happened).
The Leafs play their next game on February 4th against the Vancouver Canucks.
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