NJD:

5

NYR:

3

Final

TBL:

6

BUF:

5

Final

TOR:

4

DET:

2

Final

VGK:

3

CBJ:

2

Final

DAL:

4

STL:

1

Final

FLA:

3

EDM:

4

Final

Maple Leafs Place Morgan Rielly on Long-Term Injured Reserve

Leafs Morgan Rielly Chatting With Teammate TJ Brodie
Leafs Morgan Rielly Chatting With Teammate TJ Brodie Photo credit: Kevin Sousa/NHL via Getty Images

In Monday night’s 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Islanders, Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly suffered an unfortunate lower-body injury. The injury occurred after an awkward collision with Islanders forward Kyle Palmieri near center ice. The collision sent both players to the locker room immediately. Morgan Rielly’s night was over as he did not return. A Maple Leafs blue line that was already pretty significantly banged up had now suffered an even bigger loss. 

On Tuesday morning, after getting some imaging done on Morgan’s lower-body injury, it was confirmed that the Maple Leafs blue liner would be placed on the long-term injured reserve. This now means Morgan will miss the next 10 games and 24 days.

With the Maple Leafs already missing fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin and defenseman TJ Brodie. The Maple Leafs blue line is beginning to look real thin. The blue and white were forced to recall 24-year-old defenseman Mac Hollowell and defenseman Victor Mete from the Marlies on Tuesday morning in a flurry of moves. The schedule ahead for the Maple Leafs also doesn’t get much easier. The team will open up a five-game slate within the next eight days. 

Sandin’s Time to Shine

Suppose there’s any bright side with the Leafs extremely banged-up defensive core. In that case, now the opportunity at hand allows some of the other Maple Leafs defensemen to get used in higher leverage situations. One player I’m extremely excited to see take on this challenge without Morgan Rielly’s availability is Rasmus Sandin. Sandin’s had a tough season so far after holding out of training camp. This new opportunity could be exactly what the 22-year-old needs. Sandin’s now quarterbacking the Maple Leafs top power-play unit, which is definitely an opportunity he likely wouldn’t have gotten if Morgan Rielly was available. Sometimes all it takes is a few extra points to get that confidence back in a player and even as a defenseman. Rasmus Sandin had unreal production as a third-pairing guy last year. It could be seen as a significant positive now having the ability to see Rasmus in a much more advanced role. This move could show a lot about Sandin’s play and his long-term look on this Maple Leafs roster. 

With the signing of Leafs defenseman Mark Giordano this summer, the 39-year-old is another player who will be heavily relied upon. Mark Giordano, who won the Norris trophy at age 35 with the Calgary Flames, has been a bright spot on this Leafs team since the acquisition. Giordano’s experience and competitive edge should make for a great leader on the blue line, who will likely be missing Reilly, Brodie, and Muzzin at least until December. With Muzzin out until February at the minimum and Rielly on the long-term injured reserve, expect to see TJ Brodie return the quickest. TJ Brodie has been dealing with an oblique injury for the last couple of weeks but did show progress as he skated today prior to the Maple Leafs practice. 

Despite the significant injuries, all hope is not lost just yet for the Maple Leafs. With the return of Matt Murray and the very underrated defensive structure of Sheldon Keefe’s system. The Leafs are extremely capable of staying in the games down the stretch here. The team’s defense will need to rally as a committee to be successful instead of a one-man job. Perhaps a trade will be made soon, but I don’t expect any sort of panic move from Maple Leafs General Manager Kyle Dubas just yet. It should make for some pretty entertaining hockey, so stay tuned, Leafs nation; it should be fun. 

Thanks for reading! For more hockey content, follow my Twitter at @JAns8lmo

Do You BeLeaf? Feat. Mikey D Leafs Late Night

WELCOME BACK TO LEAFS LATE NIGHT! Presented by Inside The RinkRoscoe, Biehner, & Mikey D of TheBeLeafersTonight's Topics Can you BeLeaf Mitch is at 17? Another November to Remember Murray – Elite or Cheat?  BOILS MY BIEHNS Sidney Sassy Pants MERCH IS AVAILABLE!Borje ShirtsRemember to follow us on Twitter @LeafsLateNight & IG @LeafsLateNightCheck out Mike, Josh, and Nathan's articles on the Leafs + many more! insidetherink.com
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