The banged-up Toronto Maple Leafs will now have to get by without standout defenseman Rasmus Sandin.
The 22-year-old suffered a knee injury in Saturday’s 6-3 road loss to the Nashville Predators. Per Sportsnet’s Luke Fox, the Maple Leafs have placed Sandin on the injured reserve. There is no firm timeline on when he could return.
Sandin, whom the Maple Leafs drafted with the No. 29 selection in 2018, is averaging 16:58 time on ice per game. He has five goals and 11 assists in 51 games.
Injuries Turn Up the Heat
It’s another blow to a Toronto team that finds themselves vying for a top-three seed in the Atlantic Division.
Starting goalie Jack Campbell remains sidelined with a rib injury, and shutdown defenseman Jake Muzzin is still recovering from a concussion. A massive surge from the Boston Bruins has Toronto barely clinging on to the No. 3 seed in the Atlantic Division.
Following the Bruins win in Montreal on Monday, the two teams were tied with 63 points apiece. Despite their injuries and recent slump, the Maple Leafs still have the fifth-best Stanley Cup odds on Betrives at +1200 and the sixth-best odds on DraftKings at +1200. With Ontario Betrivers set to launch in early April, Toronto sports fans will soon be able to bet on their favorite teams.
Mark Giordano On Trade To Leafs: “A Great Opportunity”
Despite limited cap space and trade assets, Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas managed to swing one big trade ahead of Monday’s deadline.
On Sunday, the Maple Leafs acquired veteran defenseman and former Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano and forward Colin Blackwell from the Seattle Kraken in exchange for 2022 and 2023 second-round picks and a 2024 third-round selection. Giordano was selected by the Kraken in last year’s expansion draft.
The 38-year-old is in the final year of his contract, and with the Kraken well out of the playoff race, it only made sense to deal away the 2019 Norris Trophy winner.
“Now that I’m able to get back to Toronto, it’s a great opportunity to be part of something special,” Giordano told reporters after the trade, via Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun. “Everyone is excited. I’ve only gone through 10 to 20 text messages, there’s a ton more and I’m not sure I’ll get through them all before the end of the month.”
Though Giordano is past his star-like form, he remains a steady top-four presence, and his puck-moving skills should go hand-in-hand with Toronto’s players upfront. Giordano had six goals and 17 assists in 55 games with the Kraken. He averaged 21:29 time on ice per game in Seattle, so the banged-up Maple Leafs will happily welcome his ability to chew up valuable minutes.
“Seattle treated me great to the end,” Giordano said, per Hornby. “(General manager Ron Francis) knew I was from Toronto and this would be a great fit for me. I feel great, just played my 1,000th game. Most 38-year-olds would’ve played more by now, but I started later (undrafted). I work to keep up my speed. I’m excited to get back in a game. Sitting out the last two games waiting for the trade deadline wasn’t fun.”
In his 15 seasons with Calgary, the Flames never once got past the second round of the postseason. Now, Giordano gets the chance to chase a Stanley Cup with a star-studded team that’s under pressure to win its first playoff series since 2004.
Dubas “Disappointed” That Fleury Trade Discussions Were Leaked
On Saturday, TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that the Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks discussed a trade that would have sent veteran goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and forward Brandon Hagel to Toronto.
According to Dreger, the Maple Leafs wouldn’t make the trade “based on the futures involved.” The Blackhawks sent Hagel to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Fleury was dealt with the rival Minnesota Wild.
Per TSN’s Mark Masters, Dubas expressed disappointment that the trade discussions were leaked. “I’m disappointed that that conversation is public,” Dubas said. “I’ve never had that before where the specifics like that have been made public. Frankly, it’s probably (something) to ask (Blackhawks GM) Kyle Davidson at his availability.”
Responding to Dubas’ comments, Davidson said he’ll “address in private with Kyle”, per Mark Lazerus of The Athletic.
There was speculation that the Maple Leafs would bring in a goalie due to Campbell’s injury and struggles, along with the inconsistent play of backup Petr Mrazek. After failing to reach an agreement on a deal for Fleury, the Leafs ultimately have no choice but to trust the Campbell-Mrazek combo the rest of the way.
As the Leafs chase the playoffs and a Stanley Cup, they will have to slog through injuries to some key players, and hope that they did enough at the deadline.
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