The Toronto Maple Leafs have placed Joffrey Lupul on Injured Reserve this afternoon, following an injury suffered in yesterdays game. With the extra roster space, they have called up forward Greg McKegg from the Toronto Marlies. As well, Peter Holland did not travel with the team, as he’s being evaluated for an injury he also suffered last night.
This feels like a recording, no? Since signing his five year extension with the Maple Leafs a little over two years ago, Lupul has been injured seven different times. Since then, he’s missed 32.2% of Toronto’s games, a number that will rise with every game he misses as a result of this “lower body injury”.
To put this into perspective, Phil Kessel has been paid a total of $28.46 million since joining the Toronto Maple Leafs. In that time, he has played 402 of 414 games (missing his first twelve, but none since). Overall, he has made $5.81 million per 82 games played. The Leafs have paid Joffrey Lupul $16.46 million in the same time frame, and he’s played 205 games. That’s $6.58 million per 82 games.
Of course, the Leafs do get salary cap relief when he’s on injured reserve, but his injuries are typically not ones that warrant acquiring a full-on replacement. As well, some of his injuries have been short enough to not use the IR process, Whatever the case, the benefit would only come in handy late-season, and the Leafs haven’t exactly been in a place to buy. Either way, it’s still an unnerving dollars-per-game value, which puts an odd spin on his actual contract.
It’s a shame, too. When he’s healthy, he’s a very solid player. But how often is that these days? This injury means that he’ll play fewer than 70 games for the sixth season in a row. That’s teetering dangerously on detrimental.
Also out for the Leafs is Peter Holland, who suffered an upper body injury. Not a ton is known about the severity yet, but he hasn’t been placed on IR yet. He’s back in Toronto for evaluations.
First to come up in response to all of this is Greg McKegg. McKegg has missed ten games this year due to injury himself, but when he’s been in the Marlies lineup, he’s made things happen. So far, he has seven goals and eight assists on the year, giving him one of the team’s higher points-per-game clips. McKegg played in a single game for the Leafs last year, getting no points in about three minutes.
He did, however, lead the NHL in Relative Corsi and was the only player to have 100% offensive zone finishes with 0% zone starts, which clearly means he’s going to dominate and isn’t at all a reflection of a microscopic sample size. Nope. Definitely not.
In seriousness, he’s a good choice for the call up. He’s capable of playing Left Wing or Centre, making him a suitable substitution for either of the previously mentioned gentlemen. His skating has improved since last year, and it’ll be interesting to see what he does on the big stage, even if it’s just for another held breath.
Photo courtesy of Christian Bonin / TSGPhoto.com