Maple Leafs Michael Bunting to miss time after suffering injury

Sunday, April 24, 2022
author picture Lina Fontaine
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Michael Bunting to Miss Time After Suing Injury

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Michael Bunting could miss some time after suffering an injury early in Saturday's game against the Florida Panthers. Bunting signed a two-year‚ $1.9 million contract with the Leafs in the summer and had settled into a regular role on the top line for the team. However‚ he may not be back until December or January‚ a situation that will likely frighten fans and Maple Leafs fans alike.

Michael Bunting

The Toronto Maple Leafs are facing a tough decision. While Michael Bunting led the NHL with 63 points in his first season‚ the forward is now likely to miss some time with the team after suffering an injury Saturday. The Maple Leafs are currently 51-21-7‚ second in the Atlanta Division behind the Florida Panthers. They have three games remaining in the regular season. However‚ the Maple Leafs must decide whether to risk Michael Bunting's future with the club or rely on other players to help fill his spot. Several players remain questionable‚ including William Nylander‚ Morgan Rielly‚ and Jake Muzzin. Muzzin and Bunting were the last players to exit the COVID-19 protocol‚ though they did dress in the first game of the season. The Leafs aren't disclosing the specific injury that has left Muzzin sidelined. But it's believed to be unrelated to his two concussions this season. Rookie forward Michael Bunting is out of the lineup after suffering an injury and will miss some time with the Maple Leafs. The injury occurred at 12:01 in the first period and the rookie forward only played four shifts. The Leafs and Panthers are both on pace to set club records in points for a season‚ but Keefe is already running out of time. Jason Spezza continues to improve with age‚ but he's been starting on the fourth line. He saw loads of time with Michael Bunting and Auston Matthews and was a force in the second period. He scored twice and set up Auston Matthews for a tap-in goal. While he won't be able to play the entire season‚ he'll likely be back with the team by April 7‚ 2021. On Tuesday night‚ the Maple Leafs beat the Predators 3-0 in a shootout. Rookie netminder Joseph Woll will be back in net for Toronto. The news on Spezza's injury will most likely be announced before the game on Sunday. Meanwhile‚ the Leafs acquired AHL defender Kyle Clifford from the St. Louis Blues for future considerations. Clifford‚ who is on his second year of a $1 million contract‚ averaged 7.4 points per 50 games with St. Louis last season.

Ilya Mikheyev

The injury is a big blow for Ilya Mikheyev and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Mikheyev had a great start to the season‚ scoring 23 points in 39 games before suffering a skate blade injury on Dec. 27. He is expected to miss some time this season‚ but could still contribute 25 to 30 points per game. Michael Bunting‚ on the other hand‚ is likely to miss time as well. The Maple Leafs' third line was missing two of their top five players. Michael Bunting and Ilya Mikheyev will both miss time‚ according to the team. Mike Babcock will replace Bunting‚ who is missing time with a knee injury. Michael Bunting‚ who had not scored since March 7 against Columbus‚ is expected to miss a considerable amount of time. The injuries to Auston Matthews and Michael Bunting are the most concerning of the three players. Both are expected to miss some time‚ but Matthews has played almost 24 minutes against the Senators‚ so he probably played through it. Keefe didn't want to reveal which player would be out for the remainder of the season. The Maple Leafs are likely to be without Bunting on Tuesday against Philadelphia and Thursday in Tampa. The Toronto Maple Leafs will be back in action on New Years Day. They are set to play the Ottawa Senators‚ but could change their plans at any time. If you have any doubts about whether or not Toronto will play against the Leafs‚ keep in mind that this is a long-term plan that will take a few days. But if the Toronto Maple Leafs win the series‚ they'll be in the playoffs! The Maple Leafs have to fit 21 players under their salary cap‚ so losing Mikheyev will definitely hurt the team's playoff chances. With only nine games left in the regular season‚ Mikheyev could end up on the injured list. If Mikheyev does go down with the injury‚ Michael Bunting might end up in the second line. If so‚ the Leafs must be cautious in making any changes‚ because it's a risky move for them to sign him.

Mitch Marner

With Michael Bunting and Mitch Marner set to sit out the remainder of the season‚ the Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to maintain their five-game winning streak. The Maple Leafs have a franchise-record eight-game winning streak on the road. In addition‚ Mitch Marner will be a game-time decision against the Minnesota Wild after exiting practice early due to an apparent collision with Jake Muzzin. Coach Sheldon Keefe didn't seem too worried about the two players' potential injury or the possibility of a player-coach relationship resulting in a conflict. While Bunting did return to the lineup late Saturday‚ the two rookies are set to miss some time. Bunting has only 23 goals and 63 points in 78 games‚ so his loss will be a setback for the Maple Leafs. Bunting's absence will leave the team shorthanded with only three players in the lineup. Despite missing three games‚ Matthews is expected to return to action against the Capitals on Sunday. The Islanders are putting up a good fight against the Chicago Blackhawks‚ but the players are suffering from the outbreak of COVID-19. It's hard to know if this will affect the Islanders. But it's worth keeping an eye on both players' recovery timetables. The Islanders have been losing for weeks‚ and it won't be much longer before they're out of the lineup entirely. With Matthews out for three games‚ the Leafs have a very difficult time finding a replacement for him. In the meantime‚ John Tavares will take Matthews' spot between Marner and Ritchie. Ilya Mikheyev is also out for eight weeks with a broken thumb‚ and Michael Bunting and Alex Kerfoot will play second and third lines‚ respectively.

Erik Kallgren

After a rough start to the season‚ the Toronto Maple Leafs called up Swedish goaltender Erik Kallgren in a desperate situation. In an overtime loss to the Arizona Coyotes‚ the Maple Leafs wiped out a three-goal lead but had to settle for a point. The rookie goaltender‚ who had only seen AHL action‚ earned praise from coach Sheldon Keefe for coming out cold in his NHL debut. Toronto is closing in on the trade deadline and the start of the playoffs‚ so a healthy Kallgren is essential. After returning to the AHL after being traded to New Jersey‚ Bunting was not the only Leaf with a serious injury. The Avalanche's defenseman‚ Joseph Woll‚ has been sidelined with a groin injury and could miss the next two weeks or more. Erik Kallgren will be the starting goaltender Thursday night in Toronto and could return in a couple of weeks. Aside from Bunting's injury‚ the team is also missing another key player: forward Michael Bunting. Bunting has a 200-foot game‚ which makes him a reliable threat. Bunting has three shots on goal and four hits in his last three games‚ including a shorthanded goal‚ and has been a vital part of the power-play unit. With Petr Mrazek back from the injured leg‚ Ilya Mikheyev will play on the fourth line with Pierre Engvall and Kyle Clifford. Nick Ritchie and Alexander Kerfoot have played the fourth line. With Mikheyev and Bunting in the fourth line‚ the Leafs will likely rely on their goaltending depth to win the game against the Winnipeg Jets. After suffering a head injury on March 19‚ Kase is now expected to miss half his LTIR time. If he plays again this season‚ he could compete for a top-six spot and produce top-half fantasy value. Meanwhile‚ Jake Muzzin will likely start at center on the right side of the second line. If he does not play‚ he could be replaced by another player on the top pair.