The Toronto Maple Leafs are likely sending another player to the Injured Reserve List as Ryan Reaves left Thursday night’s game with a lower body injury.
Just over nine minutes into the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets with the Toronto Maple Leafs down 1-0, Reaves was unable to shift directions and went awkwardly into the boards which was led by the toe of his skate followed by his knees.
The big enforcer tried staying on his feet and skate off, but fell to the ice and needed assistance to get off the ice.
It is unclear whether Reaves caught a rut in the ice, or did not have an edge on his skate blade that caused the awkward encounter with the boards.
However, there was a very similar occurrence his shift before in the exact same play where he had to change direction and the off-season free agent just looked like he did not have the agility to make the quick redirection with his body.
The Toronto Maple Leafs played with 11 forwards for the remainder of the game, in one of their most exciting third periods in team history when they erased a 5-0 deficit.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Injuries Always Open Up Opportunities
There is no hiding the fact that the Reaves off-season signing was a mistake since the beginning as general manager Brad Treliving gave a player with low skill level turning 37 a three-year deal.
The contract has essentially been the reason Reaves has been continually penciled into the line-up.
In the post-game scrum, David Alter reported that Sheldon Keefe stated that Reaves “will be out for a while”.
With injuries come opportunities, and forward Bobby McMann will likely now get a long consistent look at cracking the line-up full time. The Wainwright, Alberta native picked up an assist in Thursday nights game and now has three points in a half dozen games.
With adding McMann consistently to the line-up he offers Keefe an option of using all three players on the fourth line throughout the game. In many of Reaves games he sees very limited, if any ice-time at all in the third period.
The injury to Reaves will also likely give another Toronto Marlies forward an opportunity to be recalled as the 13th forward and that player will likely be Alex Steeves.
The undrafted college free agent is in his third season with the organization and has been in the top three in scoring with the Marlies in each of those years. Steeves has six career NHL games and has one assist.