Toronto Maple Leafs: Injury Bug Inflicts Minimal Damage

Wayne Simmonds, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Wayne Simmonds, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs are only 13 games into their 2021 season, but already the injury bug has taken a bite out of their roster.

Injuries go hand in hand with playing professional sports and hockey is no exception. Every team is faced with losing players to injury. Some for a few days, others for a month or even a whole season. The Toronto Maple Leafs have had a lot of injuries, but overall they’ve been pretty lucky in that none of them have been to core players.

It is a big relief when management and coaches are told a player is Day-to-Day as opposed to losing the player for weeks or months. Coaches have to hope that whoever they put in the injured player’s place can step up and fill the role needed until the injured player returns.

Depending on which player gets injured determines the impact it will have on the team. Some injuries can put a minor dent in a team, while others can create a huge gaping hole that can not be fixed with a band-aid solution.

Toronto Maple Leafs Injuries

So far this season, the Leafs have had to deal with five players going down with injuries. The only saving grace for the team is that none of the injuries were to any of their star players.

Injuries affect the team regardless of who gets hurt, but losing a star player has a much bigger impact. This Maple Leafs team has been lucky up to this point. Here is a look at which players have been injured this season and the impact of the injury.

Nick Robertson

Nick Robertson was injured on January 16th in the first period of the Leafs 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. On January 18th, Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe announced that Robertson will miss about four weeks.

This is Robertson’s rookie season in the NHL, so it is a shame it had to start like this. Seeing as how he hasn’t been given a defining role yet on the team, his injury was not a huge impact for them.

Robertson has been practicing recently and is close to returning. He will likely return to the line-up sometime next week when the Toronto Maple Leafs play host to the Senators.

Joe Thornton

Joe Thornton suffered a fractured rib on January 20th in a game against the Edmonton Oilers.  He was given the same four weeks timeline as Robertson.

Thornton was playing on the top line with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, but there is no guarantee he will play there when he returns. Both Matthews and Marner are playing extremely well and have great chemistry with  Zach Hyman on their line.

Thornton had two points through five games while averaging a little over 15 minutes a game. The biggest impact on the team with his injury would be felt more in the locker room than on the ice. Don’t get me wrong, it will be great to have him back in the line-up, but his absence on the ice has not had a huge impact.

Thornton is also likely to return to the lineup next week against Ottawa.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell injured his leg on January 24th in a game against the Calgary Flames. The team has only stated that he will be out “weeks”, as for how many weeks? That remains unclear for now.

Campbell has been playing very well for the Toronto Maple Leafs this season. He won both games that he started and has a 2.00 GAA and a .923 SV%. He has become one of the most reliable backup goaltenders the Leafs have had in years.

With no back-to-back games since Campbell’s injury, Frederik Andersen has been able to play every game without needing his back-up to fill in. The team will not have a back-to-back until February 17th and 18th against the Ottawa Senators. One of those games could be the first start of the season for Michael Hutchinson who is acting as team backup for now.

Hopefully, Campbell will be back in the lineup and back on the team bench soon.

Travis Dermott

Travis Dermott injured his leg on February 4th in a game against the Vancouver Canucks. After the game, Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said that Dermott’s injury appears to be minor and not serious.

Dermott had been in and out of the lineup as the team tries to find playing time for all their defensemen. The last couple of games before his injury, Dermott seemed to be finding chemistry with Zach Bogosian as the Leafs third defense pair.

Kristin Shilton from TSN.ca reported that Dermott is poised to return to the lineup on Wednesday night (February 10th) against the Montreal Canadiens.

Wayne Simmonds

Wayne Simmonds suffered a wrist injury on February 6th against the Vancouver Canucks.  The broken wrist will sideline Simmonds for at least six weeks. Head coach Sheldon Keefe told reporters that “He’s a big loss for us” when talking about the Simmonds injury.

Simmonds has five goals in 12 games while averaging 11 minutes a game. That is pretty good for a guy who only had eight goals all of last season. He will be missed for all the different aspects that he brought to the team.

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He was a great net-front presence on the power-play, he was physical and willing to fight if needed. He was also a great leader in the locker room and on the ice. The best-case scenario will see Simmonds return when the Leafs host the Oilers on March 27th and 29th.