The Leafs placed Tyler Bozak and Jake Gardiner on injured reserve today after calling up forward Byron Froese from the Marlies. Bozak has missed the entirety of the team’s last two games after leaving last Friday’s contest against Columbus with an unknown injury, and Gardiner missed Wednesday’s 2-1 shootout loss in Buffalo.
It looks like these moves were largely done to make room for the aforementioned Froese, whose call-up, along with Bozak and Gardiner being placed on IR, now leaves the Leafs roster at 22 players. While the Leafs are being quiet about what exactly is ailing Bozak and Gardiner, from what we can tell neither player seems to be too seriously hurt.
Another reason for optimism surrounding the injuries of Bozak and Gardiner is that both are eligible to return as early as Monday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes, because players only have to stay on IR one week retroactive to when they were first injured. They could be out longer, but the possibility of a speedy recovery for both remains on the table, and as far as we can tell, seems likely.
In the meantime, it’s not entirely clear whether or not Byron Froese will draw into the lineup tomorrow against Montreal. If he does though, it’ll certainly be impressive as this time last year he was without as little as a contract to play in the AHL.
It’s going to be interesting to see either based off of the injuries to Bozak or Gardiner, or based off of injuries that come later on in the year, which young players the Leafs will choose to call up, how they will be utilized, and how they will perform. Froese figures to be the first of a long string of players that will get at least a small look with the big club this season.