TORONTO – The Toronto Maple Leafs have dealt with a number of significant injuries this season.
Now add Morgan Rielly’s name to the list.
The Leafs announced Monday their star defenceman will be out a minimum of eight weeks with a fractured foot suffered in an ugly 8-4 road loss against the Florida Panthers.
Rielly blocked a shot in Sunday’s first period and hobbled towards the locker room, but managed to finish the game. Teenage blue-liner Rasmus Sandin was called up from the American Hockey League in a corresponding move.
The Leafs said Rielly, who underwent a CT scan Monday afternoon, would be placed on injured reserve and reassessed in early March.
Toronto has been without the services of forwards John Tavares, Mitch Marner, Zach Hyman, Alexander Kerfoot, Andreas Johnsson, Trevor Moore and Ilya Mikheyev, along with defencemen Travis Dermott and Jake Muzzin, at various points already this season.
Johnsson returned to the lineup against Florida, but Moore, Mikheyev and Muzzin remain on the shelf.
The 25-year-old Rielly has struggled at times after a standout 2018-19 that saw him register career-highs in goals (20), assists (52) and points (72).
The Vancouver native, who’s been dealing with an unspecified and unrelated nagging injury much of the season, has three goals and 27 points in 46 games. He’s put up 54 goals and 270 points in 516 regular-season games to go along with 15 points (two goals, 13 assists) in 20 playoffs contests.
The Leafs have been without Muzzin — another top-4 defenceman — since he broke his foot on Dec. 27. The team said at the time 30-year-old was listed as week-to-week, but he was placed on IR before Sunday’s loss when Johnsson was activated.
Based on the injury timeline, Rielly will miss at least 23 games, with a potential return date set for March 10.
Toronto’s back end will now rely even more heavily on Tyson Barrie, who had a tough start to his career in blue and white, but has seen a resurgence since Sheldon Keefe replaced Mike Babcock as head coach.
Sandin, 19, made his NHL debut Oct. 2 and registered two assists in six games with the Leafs before getting sent down.
In 21 contests with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies this season, Sandin has two goals and 15 points, including three assists over the weekend.
The 29th pick at the 2018 NHL draft led all blue-liners with three goals and 10 points in seven games at the recent world junior hockey championship to help Sweden win bronze.
Sandin was named the under-20 tournament’s top defenceman and also received an all-star nod in the Czech Republic.
The Leafs, who have given up 17 goals in their last three outings, open a three-game homestand Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2020.
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