What does that mean? The trouble is, it could mean anything from Timmins is ready for opening day – it's more than a week away – to he's out until Christmas. It's also possible this timeline will get updated to something worse, so when it comes to guessing how this impacts the opening day roster, it's not much to go on.
LTIR requires a player to be out for 24 days, and to miss 10 NHL games. The Leafs will open the season with Jake Muzzin and Matt Murray on LTIR, so if he's added to that pool, his cap hit essentially disappears – but unlike them, he's expected to come back.
Timmins injury leaves the Leafs with six regular-rostered NHL defenders. His cap hit is $1.1 million, and with the expected forwards (including Noah Gregor), the other six defenders, and one of Martin Jones or Joe Woll on a regular-season roster, there is no room for an extra player – at all, the Leafs are at 20 men tops.
With Timmins on the sidelines, the picture doesn't change significantly – and there has to be room to recall him when he's healthy – so the problem that's existed since the summer exists still.
This isn't even enough cap space to run three goalies until Tampa and all the other goalie-hungry teams have themselves sorted out, and their cap sheets maxed out.
It's entirely possible to go along with a 20-man roster and deal with minor injuries by playing short, which then allows emergency exception recalls – the Leafs have a lot of them in the right price range. It wouldn't be the first time they've done it, and they aren't the only team contemplating that this year. The biggest issue – as faced last year – is what happens when it's the goalie who needs a night off?
Most of the short-roster problems are solvable, and it's all fun and cap-massaging games until someone puts you on a plane to Sweden.
By mid-November, the Leafs need to be able to take a team to Stockholm that can play two games in two days, so it feels like that's the deadline here for them to have made some kind of decision about removing a player with a salary high enough to allow a deeper roster. But they sure don't seem to be in a hurry.
I'm opting out of guessing about their roster plans this year. The impression I have is they've always had a plan in mind, they just haven't shared it with anyone. So we will, as always, see where this goes.