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The Toronto Maple Leafs have lost a number of key players on their NHL roster to long term injuries these past two weeks. A positive to take from the injury bug going around the Maple Leafs team is that, it’s occurring in the offseason and this means some of the players will get all summer to fight it off and hopefully be ready for the start of the 2019-20 regular season. Here are the players who have gone down with injuries for the Maple Leafs since being eliminated by the Bruins in round one:
#11 Zach Hyman – underwent surgery for a torn ACL in his right knee and the expected recovery time is six months. He is set to miss training camp and the first month of the 2019-20 season. Hyman had a career high in goals (20), points (41), game-winning goals (4) and shooting percentage (14.6%) this year for the Maple Leafs. Hyman may not be your household name but, he has definitely been a big part of the Maple Leafs team since he’s been on it.
#23 Travis Dermott – will have surgery to repair his shoulder and will be expected to miss six months, like Hyman. Missing four weeks with a shoulder injury during the year, Dermott had four goals and thirteen assists in 64 games. He was a minus five this year but Dermott is growing to be a good NHL defenseman. He will most likely need to play catch up this upcoming year due to injury.
#91 John Tavares – has sustained an oblique injury in preparation for the World Championships and will miss four weeks, thus missing the whole tournament. Tavares had career highs in goals (47), points (88), plus/minus (+19) and hits and blocks (59 and 53). Tavares will be back and ready for training camp, but will be without year long line-mate Zach Hyman and maybe Mitch Marner as he’s expected to be dealing with a tough contract negotiation.
#34 Auston Matthews – underwent a procedure to remove surgical hardware from a 2014 surgery. The procedure won’t keep Matthews out for any period of time. Matthews suffered a broken femur with the U.S. National Under-17 Program after a knee-on-knee collision. Matthews missed 14 games this year as well with a shoulder injury so this summer is great to just focus on getting 100 percent for the start of next season.
Their are already talks that the Leafs will need to fill the voids on the back end for the injured players for next year’s start. Some players within the organization who could be options are, Calle Rosen, Andreas Borgman, Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren. All these defensemen have been solid in the 2018-19 campaign despite being either banged up with injuries or overcoming certain challenges throughout the season. Teemu Kivihalme, a d-man from Karpat of the SM-Liiga in Finland, was signed by the Leafs this past week to add more depth in the position and maybe will have a chance to battle for a spot on the NHL roster next year.
The Maple Leafs have many options in the minors and through recent signings to fill the voids for potential spots on the forward group next season. Jeremy Bracco is a strong candidate to make the Leafs out of camp next year because of his skating abilities and the numbers he’s put up for the Toronto Marlies this year. He recorded 79 points in 75 games this year and is having a very strong 2019 playoff run as well. Recent Russian signings, Yegor Korshkov and Ilya Mikheyev, could be cheap, affordable options as well next year to make the team. Mikheyev had a strong season with Omsk Avangard in the KHL recording 45 points in 62 games as well as 11 points in 13 games during their playoff run. Both Russian forwards are young and could fit well into the Leafs forward group if need be.