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Jake Muzzin busted his hand, out 4 weeks

The day after signing his new contract we get exactly the news we’ve been conditioned to expect.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Late in the second period of the Maple Leafs win over Tampa Bay, Jake Muzzin blocked a Victor Hedman shot with his hand.

And now the results are in:

Calle Rosen once and now again a Maple Leaf was the only defender acquired at the deadline on Monday. He was brought in largely to handle the rearranged Marlies roster which saw Jordan Schmaltz traded for a forward. Now he’s the sixth or seventh defender on the depth chart depending on how you view Martin Marincin.

In Monday’s game, with Muzzin playing two periods of hockey, Justin Holl played 25:49, and Tyson Barrie 24:06. They are the undisputed top two Maple Leafs defenders now, and Travis Dermott and Rasmus Sandin will be one and two (or two and one) on the left side.

The heat just got turned up on Sandin and Timothy Liljegren. And Justin Holl is not going to get to stop pretending he’s a top pairing guy.

The other option aside from Marincin and Rosen is Kevin Gravel, who is healthy and has participated in Leafs practices. After that comes Teemu Kivihalme, Jesper Lindgren, Mac Hollowell and Joey Duszak.

The AHL trade deadline is actually next Monday, so if the organization wants to help the Marlies — they aren’t currently in a playoff position, but their games in hand make it plausible they could get there — they can still make trades of AHL-contracted players.

In an unlikely, but still possible move, the Maple Leafs could add a defender either by signing him (where is Dion Phaneuf, anyway?) or by trading for him. That player could not play in the playoffs, but if Morgan Rielly and Cody Ceci aren’t back by then, what difference does it make?

Thank you to all our readers from PPP for reading all this good news we’ve been bringing you this year. We appreciate it.