The Toronto Maple Leafs are in the midst of a much-needed four-day break right now. Just because the team is on a break, doesn’t mean the news stops.
This could turn out to be a huge week for the Maple Leafs as a few things could happen to improve the team. Fans and management alike can only hope that is true.
Injured Maple Leafs Healing
There is hope that Jack Campbell will be able to return from his injury by the time Toronto hits the ice again on Friday, March 19th. The netminder has missed the whole first half of March with what is only being described as a lower-body injury.
When the Maple Leafs return to action on March 19th, it will be the first of back-to-back games against the Calgary Flames and the hope is that Campbell will be back in time to start one of those games.
Auston Matthews is another player who hopes to benefit from having some time off this week. The star forward has been playing through a wrist injury which has hindered his ability to shoot as effectively as he would like to.
Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin is hoping that when the team returns to action, he will no longer need to wear the full face shield. Muzzin suffered a facial fracture on February 20th from a high stick in a game against the Montreal Canadiens.
Wayne Simmonds who has been out of the lineup since early February with a broken wrist is getting closer to returning. His cast has been removed and he has resumed skating.
There is no indication that he will return in time to play in either of the games against the Flames, but could be back for the Leafs game against the Ottawa Senators on March 25th.
It is no secret that Toronto general manager Kyle Dubas is looking for an upgrade to his top-nine forward group. With only three games in the next 11 days, this would be the perfect time to make a trade. Any player acquired from a team in the United States would have to quarantine for 14 days. If that player is acquired now, then he won’t miss many games over those 14 days.
Rickard Rakell from the Anaheim Ducks, Eric Stall from the Buffalo Sabres, Nick Foligno from the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Mikael Granlund from the Nashville Predators are all names that have been mentioned.
After a few blown leads and some poor defensive play in the last few games, it is safe to say that the Leafs could use an upgrade on defense as well. Some names that have been floating around are Mattias Ekholm from the Predators, David Savard from the Blue Jackets, and young defenseman from Detroit, Michigan Matt Roy from the Los Angeles Kings.
Leafs Will Look to Start Fresh
With some injuries healed up and the possibility of a new face or two in the lineup, the Leafs will be looking for a fresh start after this break. There is a good chance that when they come out of this break to play the Flames, they will no longer be the first place team in the North Division.
They have 26 games left until the end of the regular season and they will need to play better than this past week if they hope for a top-two finish and home-ice advantage for round one of the playoffs.
The biggest test will be the six remaining games against the Winnipeg Jets and the six remaining games against the Canadiens. Those 12 games will have a big impact on where Toronto finishes in the standings.
The 2021 NHL trade deadline is not until April 12th, but the Maple Leafs would be wise to take advantage of their schedule and get a head start on upgrading the team.
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