Maple Leafs: Simmonds Injury Unfortunate, but Won’t Impact Team Much

Wayne Simmonds, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Wayne Simmonds, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs destroyed what was supposedly the Vancouver Canucks yet again on Saturday, but bad news on the injury front came right after.

Wayne Simmonds has become one of the fastest players in Toronto Maple Leafs history to achieve the status of Fan Favorite, and unfortunately he is now out for the next six weeks, after hurting his hand in the 3rd period of Saturday night’s game.

That means that, assuming the timeline is correct, Simmonds will be out until the second-last week of March, about six weeks before the playoffs, give or take.

Simmonds scored twice before exiting the game, giving him five goals in his last six games. The injury is unfortunate for fans of the team, because not only is Simmonds fun to watch, but you could see when he scored on Saturday that his  teammates clearly love him.

But, the Leafs aren’t really going to miss him too much from a production standpoint because they are insanely deep.

Toronto Maple Leafs Depth Not Even Tested

The Leafs currently have Joe Thornton and Nick Robertson out of the lineup, so you’d think this Simmonds injury would be a big blow, but they probably won’t even feel it.

Simmonds averages only 8 minutes and 30 seconds of ice time (13th among forwards) so his loss is going to be mostly in the leadership and entertainment departments.

This isn’t to say he’s not a good player, but Simmonds has two 5v5 goals, scores the 11th most per minute of ice time, and is ranked tenth on the team in expected-goals percentage.  Sure, he’s good on the power-play, but the Leafs power-play has Matthews, Nylander, Tavares, Rielly, Marner and they are the best power-play in the NHL.  They’ll be fine.

As far as replacement players go, with Boyd and Petan seeming to lockdown roster spots lately, the Leafs can still turn to Pierre Envgall or Adam Brooks, each player likely to be as, if not more, effective than Simmonds everywhere but the power-play.

You feel bad for the guy because he was on fire, but let’s be realistic: this makes the Leafs less entertaining, and less fun to cheer for, but it doesn’t even impact their team at all, play-wise.

Their power-play is insane, generating 10 more shots per hour than the #2 team, as well as two expected goals per hour more than the #2 team.  It’s so far an ahead of the next power-play that even without Simmonds they don’t have anything to worry about in this part of the game.  (all stats

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Wayne Simmonds was on fire and it sucks that he got injured, but the Leafs have so many plug-and-play guys it won’t even really matter.  Plus, Joe Thornton and Nick Robertson are on their way back soon, and this just gives the team even more of an opportunity to experiment with different players and combos.