The Toronto Maple Leafs’ defensive depth is getting even thinner by the day. The team announced today that Jake Muzzin will be out for the next four weeks after suffering a broken hand last night. The recently re-acquired Calle Rosen has been recalled in his place.
With Morgan Rielly and Cody Ceci already out, the Maple Leafs’ defense now consists almost entirely of the group that won the AHL Calder Cup in 2018. Travis Dermott, Justin Holl, Timothy Liljegren, Martin Marincin and Rosen were all on that team, leaving only Tyson Barrie and Rasmus Sandin—a 19-year old with 24 NHL games under his belt—as those who weren’t part of the playoff run. For a team trying to clinch a divisional playoff spot, that group will have to take some real development steps in a hurry.
Muzzin, 31, just inked a four-year extension with the Maple Leafs that will start paying him an average of $5.65MM next year. His veteran leadership has been immeasurable for the team this season, but this will be his second major injury after breaking his foot earlier on. In 53 games he has 23 points.
If he does return in four weeks it would leave just five games before the end of the season for Muzzin to get his legs under him and help the Maple Leafs secure a spot. Rielly and Ceci are both expected back before the end of the year as well, but for now the team will have to rely on their inexperienced group to get them close to the finish line.