It appears Sheldon Keefe will be mixing up the blue line corps for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but not voluntarily. While the coach has essentially stuck with the same group of six defenseman for close to two months, news that Zach Bogosian will be out a minimum of four weeks means someone else will get an opportunity.
The defenseman went down with a shoulder injury in Tuesday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks and Keefe relayed that he’d be out long-term. And, that he’ll miss the remainder of the regular season and likely part of the playoffs is not great news for Toronto. Rasmus Sandin will be the first player to benefit from the news, while newly-acquired Ben Hutton will also get a chance to show what he can do.
Bogosian is one of Toronto’s few right-handed shots, and while he’s not played a ton of minutes, the 30-year-old has offered exactly what was expected of him when he was added as a free agent this past offseason. He’s been physical player who can penalty kill for the team and he’s ideal as the type of depth player Toronto wanted to have more of as they made a push towards the Stanley Cup Finals.
A big reason why the Leafs added Bogosian, along with Jason Spezza, Joe Thornton, Wayne Simmonds, T.J. Brodie, and Nick Foligno is so that the dressing room has the playoff experience and leadership it needs to battle through the rigors of the postseason.
In 44 games for the Leafs this season, Bogosian has four points while averaging 14:40 of ice time.
A Silver Lining?
Moving Bogosian’s $1 million salary to long-term injured reserve and retroactive to when he last played would normally offer much relief. But, with questions surrounding how the Leafs will activate goaltender Frederik Andersen before the playoffs, this extra money could come in handy.
There’s also more bad news as are the Maple Leafs are just about at the cut off for being able to add players to LTIR. Any player injured in the next game would be ineligible for LTIR
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