Maple Leafs suffer another blow with Mitch Marner in COVID-19 protocol

Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs warms up prior to action against the Ottawa Senators. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs warms up prior to action against the Ottawa Senators. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Mitch Marner has been placed in COVID-19 protocol which means that the Toronto Maple Leafs will have to do more line juggling.

There have been many NHL teams who have been hit hard by COVID-19 over the last month and a bit. The Toronto Maple Leafs got some unfortunate news this morning with Mitch Marner and Pierre Engvall now in the league’s protocol list.

Toronto has now had 17 players in the league’s COVID-19 protocol but have been fortunate that it hasn’t impacted them like other teams who have had to play shorthanded. It’s not an easy situation to deal with but it’s the new reality teams have to work through.

The Leafs can’t dwell on Marner being out as they have to prepare for a tough matchup against the Colorado Avalanche. This means juggling the lineup to overcome Marner’s absence which looks like this.

This is the second time the Leafs have had to deal with Marner being sidelined back on Dec. 2 as he missed time with a shoulder injury. He made his return to the lineup against the Ottawa Senators playing in two games before being placed in the league’s protocol.

Colorado is coming off a dominant 7-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets and has won eight of their last nine games. Safe to say, not having Marner is going to be tough on the Leafs as they could use all the firepower in a potential offensive showdown.

Alexander Kerfoot was a likely candidate to get bumped up to the top line as he brings some speed to the top line and playmaking ability. It also helps that Ilya Mikheyev has picked up his play and can be a placeholder on the second line.

It looks like Kyle Clifford will draw back into the lineup along with Brett Seney who has been a strong producer in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies. It also appears that Nick Ritchie will be sticking with the big club as well.

Where Marner’s absence will be felt is on the power play as the playmaker down low. After a slow start to the season, Marner has 21 points in 26 games and will be looking to improve on that.

Another player who is a question mark is Ondrej Kase who has been working his way back from an injury he suffered while training. He was able to skate before practice as David Alter of The Hockey News reports but it looks like he still needs time.

It will be interesting to see how Marner’s absence will impact the team but every team has had to deal with it at some point this season so the Leafs will have to work through it.

Related Story. Ritchie's struggles have him on waivers. light

How do you think the Leafs will perform with Marner out of the lineup? Who do you expect to step up with him out? Let us know in the comments below.