Toronto Maple Leafs Lose Top Defenseman

The Toronto Maple Leafs have placed star defenseman Morgan Rielly in COVID-19 protocol. Although the Leafs do not play again until December 27th against the Columbus Blue Jackets, he will not be able to play then and for more contests. Thus, this news still impacts them even with the current holiday break.

The Leafs are one of many NHL teams getting hit extremely hard by this virus. At this juncture, John Tavares, Jack Campbell, Petr Mrazek, Wayne Simmonds, Jason Spezza, Alex Kerfoot, T.J. Brodie, Travis Dermott, David Kampf, Ilya Mikheyev and Rasmus Sandin are all sidelined because of it. Head coach Sheldon Keefe is in protocol, too. Now, Rielly's absence makes them even more short handed.

The Leafs could be in for a bit of a rough stretch because of this, but even if this does come into fruition, they don't have too much to worry about. At this time, they sport a 20-8-2 record and look like legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. 

It's been a fantastic campaign for Rielly personally, too. In 30 games played, he has four goals, 26 points and a plus-11 rating. This is certainly great to see, as Toronto just signed him to an eight-year, $60 million contract extension. Yet, for now, this is a big loss to the lineup and here's to hoping he doesn't miss too much extra time once the minimum 10 days pass.

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