Morgan Rielly is going to be off the ice for an unknown number of games, possibly six or more. The question is how bad is that?

Now the answer to that might depend on how you feel about the Leafs. If you want them to blow it now so you don't have to watch them blow it later, you might be satisfied by saying, "It's so Leafy."

If you think the regular season is a process that leads to the playoffs, and you want the Leafs in the playoffs, you might be concerned.

The short answer to the question is a very, very large hole:

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Look at all the colours! Okay, what does this say? This is based on GAR, and GAR has all the shooting and save percentages baked right in on purpose. It's a description of what has happened, and how each player impacted the outcomes - skill, luck, randomness, all of it.

The key colour with Rielly is orange. That's the Even-Strength defence, and his is always negative. Always. But that is a very small negative for him, and more than made up for with all the other colours. For one thing, he is the only power play defender on the team.

Now let's jump down the list to the very next defender. He's eighth. And his entire claim to fame – and really someone should write about this – is his orange defence. He's a negative value offensively, and this means all offensive creation, not his personal shot. And his current season its own article, but as much as Liljegren has been a very big contributor to transition and puck movement, we know what he can't do, and so does Sheldon Keefe.

The next defender, is Conor Timmins in only 16 games. I don't take those results very seriously, and he's missed a practice, and is ill per the team.

Mark Giordano is next as a good third pair result, but he's missed some practices and games and is just coming back, but isn't up to taking the top four minutes again. T.J. Brodie is not actually even better than Giordano, but he can play big minutes.

And the rest are either just average as is Jake McCabe – in big minutes, though. Or defence and nothing else (done totally differently to Liljegren) from Simon Benoit.

Now that's just this year. Let's cast our minds back deep into the past to last year.

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Morgan Rielly was a power play only guy who never took penalties, and that's it. He was not a differnce maker, but most of that was the time he spent injured, and the struggles he had when he came back. And look at Gio! Last year's solution to Rielly's absence was pretty much Giordano pouring it all out when he had to. We can't expect that this year.

So here we are, with a very big hole, and no one really ready to fill it well.

And to get back to the whole "the Leafs aren't worthy" thing, here's why that frustrates me.

After last season, with the injuries proving the defence depth was poor, the situation this season was Jake McCabe in and Rasmus Sandin out. And then the Leafs added a nice cast of depth callups in Simon Benoit, William Lagesson and Max Lajoie. All had NHL experience and were cheap. Benoit has found a fulltime role, but all three are very one-dimensional players one way or another, and aren't even close to top pairing defenders.

And what was the response outside of the cheap guys? John Klingberg, a UFA who cost no assets. No trades were made. And when Klingberg was Klingbergian and then out for the season, his exalted cap hit has sat on the books as an LTIR full of cheap recall guys swimming around to no effect. That's a choice. That's a whole series of choices. Doing nothing is the easiest choice to make because a lot of people won't even notice you made it.

So Brad Treliving chose to put Auston Matthews and the four other outstanding players on the ice with nothing at all on defence. He chose this. So for him to now take the position that the Leafs are so, so bad, we can't use assets to improve this bad team that has just appeared before me, nothing to do with me – that is extremely aggravating.

Next season the Leafs will need defence. The price isn't going down. The need isn't going away. The assets are what they are. The supply is extremely limited. Nothing is going to magically change this. Waiting can be a good strategy when there is a reasonable potential for something to change, but if Treliving is pinning his hopes on the UFA market, was last year not a bit of a lesson.

If Treliving continues to choose to not act, then he is choosing to hamstring this team. And I say this fully aware that the Leafs have been looking for defence forever, and it isn't easy. But who said the GM's job was supposed to be easy?

The Leafs aren't the best team in the NHL. I think that's obvious. But put aside the desire to wallow in the easy despair of the Leafy team that can never be good and admit that there's a lot of good players on this team, and choosing to waste prime years of their careers on a nihilist prediction that the Leafs can't win anything is just plain stupid.

Elliotte Friedman reported on Monday that the Leafs are furious about this suspension situation. Fine, be furious, Treliving. But you made the choices that made this molehill into a mountain. Maybe that's why you're so mad, because you know deep down it's your own failures that you're really mad about.