Well it may be Superbowl Sunday, but it’s certainly not feeling too super at the moment, as we get our first hint at the extent of Wayne Simmonds injury.
Not liking what I’m hearing on Wayne Simmonds. Could be six weeks…just brutal, was having such a strong season in return home.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 7, 2021
So that’s not particularly good. Especially on a team that is already down Nick Robertson, Joe Thornton, Jack Campbell, and possibly Travis Dermott. The Leafs seem to be picking up exactly where they left off on the injury front, and Simmonds injury will require him going on the LTIR which will further impact the Leafs ability to add players towards the trade deadline.
As for the biggest part of this, it’s Simmonds absence. He’s had 5 goals so far this season, and has looked right at home in his net presence power play specialist role, and given the Leafs an intimidating protector they’ve sorely lacked in the past few seasons. He’s not a simple call someone up to replace him type of replacement, though I’d assume Joey Anderson could find his way into the lineup and the Leafs might wish to revert to one top loaded power play unit rather than continuing with the balanced approach that has been working so well for them.
The Wayne Simmonds injury also seemingly opens the doors for the possibility of the Leafs exploring trade options. If there was any truth to the Leafs being interested in Sam Bennett, Bennett is a player who somewhat replaces Simmonds abilities, and with some cap management, he could fit in with the Leafs if Simmonds hits the LTIR.
For now, just more sadness, as a beloved local player who was on the verge of hat trick last night suffered an injury and will be shutdown. Hopefully the six week time frame is a worst case scenario and we can see Wayne in the lineup sooner. Nothing about the Leafs injury situation makes me feel comfortable with being optimistic though.