The Toronto Maple Leafs have shut down forwards James van Riemsdyk and Joffrey Lupul for the remainder of the season after both players suffered serious injuries, the team announced Thursday night.
The Maple Leafs are the second-worst in the NHL standings this season, and the team felt it would be unwise to risk further injury to Lupul or van Riemsdyk by bringing them back this year, according to The Toronto Sun. Lupul has been dealing with multiple injuries this season, including a "middle-body injury" that required sports hernia surgery. Lupul has played in only 46 games this season and has recorded 14 points for the Leafs.
The Maple Leafs have been without van Riemsdyk since early January after the forward broke his foot from being hit with a puck. The recovery for van Riemsdyk was expected to be between six to eight weeks, but he suffered a setback and is still in a walking boot, The National Post reported, noting that van Riemsdyk is hoping to start skating in two weeks and that he is "expected to make a full recovery."
Lupul has been dogged by injuries through his career, and that is another reason why the team opted to shut him down. The Leafs are way back in the standings, and the extra time gives Lupul the chance to make a full recovery for next season. Lupul has never played in more than 69 games in a season during his time with the Leafs, and he has not been able to consistently get on the ice this season.
The Maple Leafs are in rebuilding mode, and their focus now is on the draft and building for the future. The team has made some deals ahead of the trading deadline, and they have continued to stockpile draft picks. The Maple Leafs traded Shawn Matthias to the Colorado Avalanche last week, and they now have the potential to make 12 selections in the 2016 NHL draft, according to Yahoo! Sports.
The team has 10 draft picks to use, and they also have two conditional picks that are based on what certain teams do in the playoffs. The Leafs will acquire the first round pick from the Pittsburgh Penguins if the team makes it into the playoffs as part of the Phil Kessel deal. Toronto will also receive a sixth-round selection from the St. Louis Blues if Olli Jokinen plays in the Stanley Cup Final.