Sep 21: Liljegren will be out a minimum of six weeks following hernia surgery earlier this week. Engvall suffered an ankle injury while training in Sweden and will be re-evaluated in the first week of October.
Sep 20: The Toronto Maple Leafs season isn’t getting off to a good start, as injury news has already started to trickle out. First, it was Chris Johnston of NorthStar Bets reporting that Timothy Liljegren will miss training camp, with the team expected to address the situation with the media tomorrow. Next, Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff tweeted that Pierre Engvall will also miss the start of camp, and is waiting for another evaluation.
No timeline is clear for either player but both appear to be out for the next little while at least.
The Liljegren news is especially troublesome for the Maple Leafs, who still don’t have a ton of depth on the right side of their defense. T.J. Brodie will likely play on that side again (despite being left-handed), and Justin Holl is still around to suit up. But beyond that, Liljegren was expected to be thrust into a bigger role this year, potentially even logging top-four minutes every night.
It will be interesting to see if this affects negotiations with unsigned RFA Rasmus Sandin, given there should be a bit of an opening in the lineup if Liljegren missed a considerable amount of time. Speculation for months has indicated that Sandin may be looking for a bigger role, something that didn’t seem possible once the team re-signed Mark Giordano to a two-year deal. Perhaps this is the opening he needs to work his way into more regular minutes.
Engvall’s absence, meanwhile, will create an interesting situation in camp for some of the younger players. Joey Anderson, Nicholas Robertson, Alex Steeves, and Nicholas Abruzzese all played NHL games last season but it wasn’t clear whether there would be room for them on this year’s squad, after the Maple Leafs signed Adam Gaudette, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, and Calle Jarnkrok as free agents.
The team also brought in Zach Aston-Reese on a PTO, something that might result in a contract should Engvall miss a good chunk of time.