There is still some uncertainty over when Andreas Johnsson will return from his injury, but the Toronto Maple Leafs are in a position where there is no hurry.
Andreas Johnsson had been on a roll recently for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He scored a career-high four points in a 6-1 win against the Anaheim Ducks, starting a run of nine points (five goals and four assists) in his last six games.
In this respect, Johnsson’s injury on Thursday night in Vegas came at an inopportune and frustrating time, in a game where he had added another goal. The injury came courtesy of a controversial knee-on-knee collision with Brayden McNabb of the Golden Knights, early in the second period.
There was understandable concern as the 24-year-old needed help to get down the tunnel, struggling to put weight on his left knee. As per TSN, however, after the game the Leafs declared that the injury was not considered serious.
Still, the majority of Leafs fans waited with bated breath for an update, especially after Johnsson missed practice on Friday. As per Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun, coach Mike Babcock confirmed he would not play on Saturday night, against the Arizona Coyotes.
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In addition, Babcock said the winger is day-to-day with his injury which, while it could have been a lot more serious, doesn’t exactly provide a definitive timeline. Fortunately for the Leafs, they are in a position where there is no pressure to rush the youngster back.
Yes, Johnsson is a talented player with intriguing upside, who you want to see continue to gain experience. However, his absence will allow the Leafs to show their depth at the forward position, courtesy of Tyler Ennis.
This will be Ennis’ first game back, since breaking his ankle on Dec. 22. Prior to his injury, the 29-year-old was having a decent season, with his experience, leadership and play-making ability proving invaluable to the Leafs.
The Leafs and their fans would arguably prefer Johnsson to be in the lineup compared to Ennis. Johnsson has 31 points (15 goals and 16 assists) in 51 games compared to his teammate, who had 11 (seven goals and four assists) in 33 appearances before his ankle injury.
Regardless, it’s a nice problem to have for a team which is hoping to make some serious noise come playoff time. In the meantime, the Leafs can take their time and make sure Johnsson is fully recovered and ready to go, before allowing him back on the ice.
How would you summarise Johnsson’s impact for the Toronto Maple Leafs so far this season? What are you expecting from Ennis in his return to action? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.