The Toronto Maple Leafs are currently on pause with the rest of the league, but they are obviously still doing some testing of their roster. Morgan Rielly and an additional staff member have been placed in the COVID protocol today.
Rielly joins a growing list of Maple Leafs in the protocol. John Tavares, Alexander Kerfoot, Jason Spezza, Wayne Simmonds, T.J. Brodie, Travis Dermott, Jack Campbell, David Kampf, Ilya Mikheyev, Petr Mrazek, Rasmus Sandin, head coach Sheldon Keefe, and several assistants have all entered the protocol in the past few days. In fact, only Tavares and Kerfoot would be eligible to return for the team’s game on December 27, though that would require them to be activated at the soonest possible opportunity.
Because of those absences, it seems possible that the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets will also be postponed, though unlike some other teams the Maple Leafs actually could recall enough players to ice a roster because of the cap space opened up by Mitch Marner’s LTIR designation. Still, with Rielly, Brodie, Dermott, and Sandin (who is also injured) on the shelf, that defense group would certainly leave something to be desired–not to mention the fact that they would need Michael Hutchinson and Joseph Woll in net.
Rielly is off to an outstanding start this season, playing 24 minutes a night for the team and racking up 26 points in 30 games. The veteran defenseman signed a long-term extension in October and has been on fire ever since, scoring at a point-per-game rate since the ink dried. Losing him for any length of time would be a crippling blow to the Maple Leafs.