It’s been an awfully busy morning in Leafs land considering that it’s also a game day. Here’s your rundown…
Elliotte Friedman strongly hinted at this being the timeline the Leafs were looking at with Wayne Simmonds, which is incredibly unfortunate. It will apparently be mid to late March before we see him again, the Leafs losing a physical net presence who has been a solid finisher on the power play might be even more difficult to replace than Thornton or Robertson.
While the plan for tonight’s game is to go with 11F/7D, we’ll need to see a 12th forward lineup that works too. Hyman has been moved up to the top powerplay unit, and if the North Division has some heated rivalries forming, I guess Scott Sabourin is the answer for toughness. I’d also expect that we’ll see Joey Anderson get a few more opportunities to see if he really is the next Zach Hyman.
The returns for Thornton and Robertson seem to be on schedule, with Thornton even getting some work with the Tavares line in the morning skate. Given the rules of long term injured reserve, Thornton and Robertson can’t be back in the lineup until late next week, but this is giving hope that they’ll be around 100% by that time.
Dermott COULD be available is promising, but given the situation with Sandin and Lehtonen needing to get time in too, I have my doubts that they will rush Dermott back and we might not see him until the weekend.
This is the true bummer of today’s injury news (I mean, beyond the Simmonds news) and that is we are still without a timeframe for Jack Campbell and that means at some point we’re going to see Michael Hutchinson.
Now, we were going to see Hutchinson at some point no matter what, and in all likelihood next week, but this should be prepping us for more than one start for the third string goaltender.
Perhaps writing off Hutchinson early isn’t fair, and he’s shown that he can perform adequately for short stints throughout his career. If the Leafs get that version of Hutchinson now, it sure would be appreciated.
As expected, Scott Sabourin cleared waivers. As of right now I’d assume he’s been assigned to the taxi squad.
I can’t imagine the Leafs are in any rush to bring him into the lineup, and it’s entirely likely he spends all his time on the taxi squad or the Marlies once they are a thing again, but he’s a safety net and short term solution until the Leafs can figure out their next move.
Injuries unfortunately keep the Leafs interesting, and today was a mixed bag. It’s unlikely any improved help over Hutchinson will be available, but it will be interesting to see if the Leafs look for some NHL caliber physicality to replace Simmonds, as his style of play seems to have fit in nicely with the Leafs lineup.