The Toronto Maple Leafs had played the same six defensemen for nearly two months straight until recently but now may have to look for a new mix. Zach Bogosian went down with a shoulder injury in Tuesday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks and head coach Sheldon Keefe told reporters including Kristen Shilton of TSN that after further evaluation, the veteran defender will miss a minimum of four weeks.
That means Bogosian will miss the rest of the regular season and could even be out of the picture for the first few games of the playoffs. Rasmus Sandin has played the last two games for the Maple Leafs after an early-season foot injury and last night paired with Travis Dermott on the third pair. Bogosian’s injury could mean a longer runway for the young Sandin, but it also could potentially open the door for trade deadline addition Ben Hutton.
This kind of injury is exactly why the Maple Leafs added Hutton, though losing Bogosian certainly isn’t an ideal situation. One of only two right-handed shots on the active roster, the 30-year-old had been strong in his limited role. Penalty killing and a physical presence are exactly why Toronto added the Stanley Cup champion, and Bogosian provided both while averaging under 15 minutes a night.
Interestingly, the Maple Leafs could now move Bogosian’s $1MM salary on long-term injured reserve retroactive to when he last played. Normally after the trade deadline that doesn’t provide a huge bonus, but there is still at least some thought that Frederik Andersen will be healthy enough to play before the end of the year. Activating him is tricky at the moment given how little cap space they have, but perhaps the team can find a creative way to get around that. If Bogosian is placed on LTIR he would have to miss a minimum of 10 games, meaning he would not be able to return before the end of the year.
It is incredible just how injury-prone Bogosian has been throughout his career. After playing 81 games in his sophomore season as a teenager, he hasn’t been able to total more than 71 in a single year. In fact, only once since that second season has he even played in more than 65, with just 689 total across his 13-year career.