The Maple Leafs will be without two more veterans for their game in Vancouver tonight as the team announced (Twitter link) that winger Wayne Simmonds and center Jason Spezza have been placed in COVID protocol. They join center John Tavares and forward Alexander Kerfoot who were also placed there on Friday.
Simmonds has had a limited role this season but has been a bit more productive, notching four goals and six assists in 29 games despite averaging over 10 minutes a game. Meanwhile, Spezza has put up similar numbers, collecting seven goals and four helpers in 26 contests. He was set to make his return after the final two games of his suspension were overturned yesterday but now that will be on hold. If subsequent testing also results in positive tests, the veterans will be out for at least 10 days.
Taking their place on the roster are forward Alex Steeves and defenseman Carl Dahlstrom who were both recalled from AHL Toronto. Steeves got into three games with the Maple Leafs earlier this month after a strong start with the Marlies that has him averaging a point per game while Dahlstrom had been up with them briefly earlier this week before being sent back down on Tuesday. With Mitch Marner currently on LTIR, Toronto has the short-term cap space to carry a full roster, a luxury that won’t be available to them when everyone is healthy.
Soon as he got the suspension reduced, it felt very likely Spezza would be missing time in protocol anyhow. Fate is like that. At least he gets his pay now.