The Leafs made an announcement on Monday about some injury updates regarding two of their younger players, and it is not a good one, to say the least.
Nick Robertson’s season has come to a premature end after successful shoulder surgery and is expected to be ready to go for the start of the 2023-24 campaign. He has not appeared in the lineup since December 8th, when he left the game midway through the first period after getting hit hard by Matt Roy and went shoulder first into the boards.
He recorded two goals and three assists for five points in 15 games played, though it is worth noting he had not registered a point after November 6th.
It is a tough blow for him as he was beginning to get back into the lineup on a regular basis following weeks of sporadic appearances. And this isn’t the first major injury Robertson has suffered since being drafted by the Leafs in 2019. He suffered a knee injury in his season debut for the 2021 shortened campaign and was limited to 27 games split between the NHL and AHL, and also missed significant time last year after suffering a non-displaced fracture of his right fibula.
His development has not gone smoothly and it has resulted in Roberston being limited to a combined 86 games played since the COVID-19 pandemic started. This latest setback is another tough blow for the forward, so here’s hoping he has a speedy recovery and has better fortune on the injury front going forward.
Meanwhile, Mac Hollowell is expected to miss the next 12 weeks due to a fractured knee cap he suffered last Wednesday against the Manitoba Moose. Late in the second period, Hollowell collided with defenceman Leon Gawanke and went awkwardly into the boards. He needed assistance getting to the locker room and did not return that night.
Hollowell had an impressive six-game stint with the Leafs when the team was ravaged by injuries on the backend, recording two assists in that span. He has spent the majority of the season with the Marlies where he has amassed 13 assists in 18 games played.
His absence will definitely take a hit to the Marlies, who have been on fire since the start of December winning 13 of their last 17 games and have gone undefeated since the calendar flipped to 2023. Hollowell himself was on a roll prior to the injury as he registered four points in his past seven games since returning to the AHL.
If all goes well with his recovery, Hollowell should be back in time for the regular season finale against the Belleville Senators. He should almost certainly give them a huge boost for their playoff run.
Moving forward, these two injuries will certainly play a role in how the Leafs prepare themselves for the upcoming trade deadline.
With Robertson out for the year, their priority now is to bring in more depth at the forward position and to figure out a permanent option for the second line. He was expected to compete for that spot and almost certainly had his moments when healthy, but he was one of numerous forwards who saw stints sharing a line with John Tavares. It includes the latest member in Calle Jarnkrok, who has done well of late but is not known for his goal-scoring prowess and could be in for some regression.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Leafs also make a trade to bring in a younger AHL defenceman for depth in the coming weeks to help alleviate the loss of Hollowell and add some insurance down the stretch.
Both the Leafs and Marlies have had strong regular seasons to this point, and their depth will once again be tested after two players were announced to be missing significant time.