The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without yet another player as defenceman Jake Muzzin has been ruled out with a broken foot. It is unclear when the injury was sustained as Muzzin managed to play over 20 minutes Friday night against the New Jersey Devils. The news comes just hours before the plays the New York Rangers in the second half of a back-to-back.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) December 28, 2019
Jake Muzzin Week-to-Week With Foot Injury
Muzzin has been a steady if unexciting blue line option for Toronto this season. The 30-year-old has three goals and 13 points in 38 games. He does have 87 hits and 69 blocks but the Leafs were counting on slightly more offence from the veteran. Muzzin was on pace to fall well-short of last season’s 37 points in 80 games thanks to a point-per-game rate of just .34. He posted points at a rate of .46 in 2018-19. However, he was making up for his offensive short fall by being one of the team’s more reliable puck movers. Muzzin’s 54.1 Corsi For currently rates second among the team’s regular defenders behind only Tyson Barrie.
The former Los Angeles Kings defender has 59 goals and 242 points in 564 games. These are solid numbers for a player who helped L.A. win multiple championships over that span of time. His role has changed with Toronto as he is not asked to shoot as often. The team has more than enough scoring options to the point where Muzzin is seeing almost no time with the power-play unit. He wasn’t the top option in L.A. for the past several seasons but this year is particularly notable in the lack of time with the advantage.
What this Means for the Future
Toronto will rely more heavily on some of its younger options with Muzzin out. His minutes won’t go to one player but look for 27-year-old Martin Marincin to be one of the primary beneficiaries. The Leafs will be fine on defence but this hurts Muzzin’s future with the team. He will reach free agency this summer but Toronto is likely going to completely rebuild its blue line around younger and cheaper players. This injury certainly damages his leverage when contract talks begin.
TORONTO, ON – OCTOBER 19: Karson Kuhlman #83 of the Boston Bruins battles against Jake Muzzin #8 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on October 19, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Bruins 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)