After an eventful January, the Leafs start February with a (well-deserved?) Break. We have a lot of time to fill until Thursday, but after that it’s another sprint for the foreseeable future. Given that it was an optional skate today, things were a little slower in Leafs Land, but nothing was ever completely shut down. Here are some of the events that happened.
Robertson and Thornton went ice skating today
Toronto’s oldest (Joe Thornton) and youngest (Nick Robertson) players are working their way back from injury
For the first time since injuries we saw her on the ice
Robertson – knee January 16
Thornton – Broken rib on January 20th pic.twitter.com/7Jph24OYgU
– Mark Masters (@markhmasters) February 1, 2021
Sheldon Keefe on Nick Robertson / Joe Thornton: “The only update would be that they are making progress. They are still on the same schedule; nothing has changed there.”
Campbell “is making progress” too, but nothing has changed there in terms of his timeline.
– Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) February 1, 2021
That’s damn good news. Thornton is rehabilitating a rib injury and it seems doable at this point to be back on the ice, but the fact that Nick Robertson can work after a knee injury is exactly what we want to believe will be in the short term. Both players are eligible to exit the LTIR for the February 15 game against Ottawa, but there is no guarantee that they will be ready, only that it looks encouraging.
Also, given the 14-day quarantine to bring players from the US, it is very unlikely that a trade or waiver by 3/4 of the league would occur to make up for the absence of these players from the line-up at this point.
Bring Sandin into the setup
# Leaves remembered Rasmus Sandin and Adam Brooks from Taxi Squad today.
The club commissioned Hutchinson, Engvall and Spezza again with the Taxi Squad.https: //t.co/jpbEU8HVY1 https://t.co/FIpRfyxCFL
– CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) February 1, 2021
Now the tweet above is just a little Dubas / Pridham paperwork. This move allows the Leafs, Brooks and Sandin to pay Brooks and Sandin at their NHL rates for a few days, while Hutchinson, Engvall and Spezza would enjoy their full one-way allowance while technically in the cab squad. We’ll see a shuffle back to a roster through Thursday, but for now we can enjoy Sandin getting paid as an NHLer at least.
As for Sandin actually making the lineup, Kristen Shilton had an interesting discussion with Rasmus about it:
“It’s obviously a little frustrating,” Sandin admitted to reporters on Monday that he didn’t have an ice age. “It was a long time ago [that] I was playing a game. But [I’m] Stay tuned and we’ll have fun practicing and it’s great to be with the guys again. At the moment we played pretty well as a group. We won games, so it’s difficult to make some changes [made] when that happens. We will only see; Whenever I get the chance, I’m ready. “
So yes, the kid wants to play. There is definitely an understanding that a winning team won’t change things, but it does seem that the limbo of cab command takes a bit of a toll.
Sheldon Keefe also weighed on the situation:
“We’re sensitive to the idea that he hasn’t played and how difficult it is,” said Keefe.
“We really tried to prioritize with him, using that time productively to maintain or really improve his work habits and gym training, to mature his body and just learn what it takes to run an everyday NHL -Being a player. [That’s] not only from a skill standpoint, but also the habits that go into everything when you take off your gear, what you do to take care of yourself and improve yourself. There is some growth there. “
So there it is. The Leafs don’t see Sandin as ready to jump past Bogosian, Dermott, or Lehtonen, even for a game or two. In a way, Sandin is the victim of a competent and sane blue line, and it is difficult enough to campaign to bring Lehtonen in some nights, let alone look at the defender standing immediately behind him.
We’ll likely see Sandin in the near future, but it’s getting harder and harder to decide who will come out. I would suggest in the short term that the Leafs have the idea of flipping the lower pairings. One evening with a Lehtonen-Bogosian couple, followed by a Sandin-Dermott couple the next evening. I’m not sure how well this applies to players like Dermott or Bogosian who advocated being a nightly bottom pair, but the Leafs have the blessing / curse of solid defensive depth this year and don’t want it from From time to time certain defenders see it, it really is just a blessing.