In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs’ commentary, I’ll share another side of the story surrounding the Matt Murray injury that I’ve not read anyone writing about. That’s what it must feel like to be both Matt Murray and, by default, Nick Robertson.
Murray’s injury impacted both players in two different ways.
If You Were Matt Murray, What Would You Feel?
Obviously, I can’t read anyone’s mind or presume to know exactly how they feel. However, the human side of me (maybe even the dad or grandfather side of me) goes out to injured Maple Leafs’ goalie Matt Murray. Not only is his injury obviously physically painful, but it has to be mentally depressing as well. He has to be disappointed – big time. Discouraged, in fact.
There are a lot of angles from which to consider his situation. There’s always the conflation of a person into a resource part of the equation; as in, he’s a player who can’t play or help his team. I can also understand the economic side of it; as in, he’s still being paid a large salary even if he can’t play. Finally, there’s the Kyle Dubas general manager side of it; as in, another mistake for the organization. (Dubas should be fired for not knowing this would happen, right?)
But I can also see the Murray side of it. I imagine that if I were Murray, my whole countenance would have leaped when I was traded to the Maple Leafs during the offseason. Instead of being on a team that wanted to move me, I was going to start the season with a team that had a legitimate chance of winning during the regular season and perhaps even going far into the playoffs.
If I were Murray, I would have desired a chance to prove myself again. I’d have worked all summer preparing. I would have ensured I was in the best shape I could possibly be in simply to ward off the possibility of further injuries. That it didn’t work must suck.
No one knows for sure if Murray is out for a long time. No one knows if his injury history will continue to frustrate his attempts to revive his career. He might yet return to the Maple Leafs this season. He also might yet help his new team progress far into the postseason.
For Murray’s sake, I hope he has a chance to make that happen.
On the Other Hand, Welcome Back Nick Robertson
No true Maple Leafs’ fan (or teammate) wants to see goalie Murray on the shelf with another injury; however, the injury has an upside for several Maple Leafs’ players. One is Nick Robertson. Yesterday, Robertson was called up to the big club and might play as early as tonight.
Robertson deserved a chance to make the roster out of training camp but was a victim of salary-cap space coupled with being waiver-exempt. He was a standout during the Maple Leafs’ training camp and preseason. At one time he led the entire NHL in preseason points. But Swiss forward Denis Malgin also looked good; and, there’s no doubt he would have been claimed if the team tried to sneak him through waivers.
So Robertson didn’t blink and began his season in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies – yet again. When Murray went down with his injury and was placed on LTIR, it opened up salary-cap space the organization used to recall Robertson from the purgatory of another missed opportunity.
Robertson had played two games in the AHL prior to the call-up. He’d scored one goal and added one assist in those Marlies’ games. Even with Timothy Liljegren soon to be added to the roster, there’s still room for Robertson to get a chance to show if he’s ready for the NHL primetime.
This is a chance the young Robertson has waited for. We’ll see – as he will – how well he’ll do. Last season, by the way, he was injured.
What’s Next for Wayne Simmonds?
Also, with Robertson, the Maple Leafs recalled Wayne Simmonds on Sunday. Simmonds did not make the team out of training camp, and the organization was reported to be seeking to trade the veteran forward. Obviously, nothing materialized.
Right now, it’s unknown what will happen with Simmonds. The word is that he’s continuing to skate with the team in practice so nothing changes that way. Will he become a healthy scratch, or could he find a spot on the team’s bottom six?
To my mind, the fourth line could use a bit of a jolt. I’d bet that Simmonds would like nothing more than to offer it.