The Toronto Maple Leafs just can’t get any luck when it comes to the injury front. Just as Nikolai Kulemin returns from a foot injury, Tyler Bozak went on Long Term Injured Reserve and not one game later, Dave Bolland suffered a leg laceration in Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.
This could turn out to be really bad. Bozak will be back by the end of the month but Bolland could be out much, much longer. When asked about the injury, Carlyle compared Bolland’s injury to the one the Ottawa Senators’ Erik Karlsson suffered last year.
Karlsson was out 10 weeks with that injury and that was with returning way ahead of schedule. So, if 10 weeks is being hopeful for a return date, the Leafs will have to be without one of their best off-season acquisitions until at least New Year’s Eve. If it’s worse, the wait will be even longer.
The question is, what do the Leafs do if Bolland is out for an extended period of time? Should they just bring up someone from the Toronto Marlies or should they make a trade for a centre?
Bringing up someone from the Marlies might not be the best option as there isn’t much depth there either. The Marlies depth chart up the middle consists of Greg McKegg, Sam Carrick, Andrew Crescenzi and Jerred Smithson. Smithson might be a good option, but he would have to be signed by the Leafs as he is on an AHL deal with the Marlies. With the Leafs at or near the NHL contract limit, that might be hard to do.
If the Leafs want to acquire a centre in a trade, they might have to give up some of their defense or goaltending depth to get it. If they are to trade for a centre, they should go big and try to look for an upgrade. With that being said, the Leafs will have to dance around the salary cap as they are barely below it.
Dave Bolland has been a big part of the Leafs’ success this season. Now the Leafs will have to succeed without him. A lot of Leafs will have to step up their games with Bolland out of the lineup. He was one of the Leafs that could shut down the opposing team’s best players. Now with him gone, the Leafs’ history of getting outshot could very well get worse.
Let’s hope he recovers sooner rather than later.