Toronto Maple Leafs: Roman Polak may not be done with the team

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Roman Polak
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Roman Polak /

After suffering a serious injury in last year’s playoffs, Roman Polak is back to skating, but in a Toronto Maple Leafs sweater.

It was a rollercoaster season between Toronto Maple Leafs fans and Roman Polak. A lot of people considered him and defence partner Matt Hunwick a liability. It was frustrating to see him being given key penalty kill minutes or be on the ice to protect a lead late in the game. However, as the season continued, Polak slowly became one of the Leafs’ most reliable defencemen.

Unfortunately, Polak’s season came to an end before the rest of the team. The 31-year-old broke his right fibula after a collision with Brooks Orpik during Game 2 or the playoffs. It didn’t look good. We all knew after that fall, Polak was done.

The rest of their defence on the Leafs had their minutes increase significantly. In fact, that game Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner played around 40 minutes! That was the game that Kasperi Kapanen scored in double overtime.

Recovery Time

Polak seems to have recovered from the surgery, and with a few weeks left until training camp, he still does not have a contract. On the bright side, he still is skating, and doesn’t seem to have lost a step. His agent Allan Walsh tweeted out a video of Polak doing skating drills last week.

This may be digging too much into it, but is it interesting that Polak was still in a Leafs sweater? Granted the team is on the hook for his rehab process since he suffered the injury with the Leafs. Even though some fans may not like it, the chances that Polak returns are fairly high. He was relied on a lot by Mike Babcock who appreciates his leadership and veteran presence in the room.

Additionally, after Connor Carrick‘s poor performance last season, it may be better to have Polak around as insurance given how much Carrick struggled late in the season. The common belief is that the left-side will be reserved for a rookie, in particular Travis Dermott. It may be more ideal for the young defenceman to play with Polak instead of another young guy trying to find his stride in the NHL.

The Leafs only have two more contract spots. Because of that, a pro-tryout may be the more likely route for now. If the desire is to actually give Polak a contract, it may have to wait until Connor Brown‘s extension is done. Once more room is made, Leafs fans should expect the announcement that the Czech-native will be returning for another year.

Next: Five Prospects to Watch on the Marlies

Would you be ok with Polak being resigned? If so, is he a better option to play with Dermott? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!