The Toronto Maple Leafs thought they had a bit of defensive depth going into the season but that is quickly evaporating. After having to play Alexander Kerfoot and Calle Jarnkrok on the blueline in their last preseason game, the team has announced timelines for two injured defensemen. Carl Dahlstrom will require surgery and be out six months after injuring his shoulder, while Jordie Benn is going to miss three weeks with a groin injury, according to David Alter of Sports Illustrated.
The injuries obviously aren’t ideal, but there at least was a bit of a silver lining in it for Maple Leafs fans. After seeing the team move forwards to cover those spots, restricted free agent Rasmus Sandin ended his contract negotiations and agreed to the deal that had been on the table for months. That softens some of the blow but losing Dahlstrom and Benn is still a problem, regardless of whether they were in line for big minutes.
With Jake Muzzin and Timothy Liljegren already dealing with injuries, and Toronto relying on Mark Giordano, the oldest skater in the league, the vibes in Maple Leafs camp certainly weren’t all that positive. With another injury or two, things could quickly look rather thin on the back end, if they aren’t there already. Victor Mete, another league-minimum signing, now looks like the default seventh defensemen, and that is if Muzzin is healthy enough to start the year.
Beyond him, the team’s depth is made up of unproven young players like Filip Kral and Mac Hollowell. In fact, there has suddenly been some chatter connecting Toronto with Jakob Chychrun, likely only because of these early injuries. Whether a deal of that magnitude is completed, or the team just goes and signs another veteran off the scrap heap, it does seem like the Maple Leafs will need to add someone to the organization.