In the normal run of hockey seasons, a situation like Ian Scott’s where he hasn’t played a game since sometime in 2019 would be very unusual. But he’s not alone in sitting out months with no game action now, although, he is the only player under contract to the Leafs with zero games played in this calendar year.
I wanted to know who has been playing, and who hasn’t, so I added it up. I left off exhibition games, friendlies, and national team competitions, so a few players have a few more games than listed. But I wasn’t expecting who tops the list. He’s definitely never been the busiest Maple Leafs prospect ever. (This does not included all those drafted players not under contract yet.)
Games played in calendar 2020 by Maple Leafs under contract for the 2020-2021 season.
|Player||NHL Games Played||NHL Playoffs||AHL Games Played||ECHL Games Played||KHL Games Played||SHL Games Played||Liiga Games Played||NL Games Played||Other||Total|
Some of these tallies are not quite finalized, including the leader, who is still playing in the KHL. The 30-34 range is the most common, and when you compare that to a standard NHL 82 plus playoffs, that drives home how much gameplay almost all of these players have lost.
It’s also the timing of the layoffs affecting players as well. Of players likely to be in the NHL, Mikko Lehtonen has had the only quasi-normal season where he played to the first round of the KHL playoffs in March, stopped only a month earlier than he would have if they’d won the cup, and then started back up at the normal late summer time for training camp. He’s also on Covid-19 isolation number two (or three, I’m not sure), and he also tested positive in Finland, proving just how strange a “normal” season is this year.
The playing field should be fairly level once the 2021 NHL season starts, and all NHL teams will be looking at rosters of players who’ve had about the same number of games at the same time. More worrying might by the names at the bottom of the list for the Leafs. If they’re AHLers or NHL extras, they might be waiting a very long time yet to get in a game.
Travis Boyd was a pressbox warrior for most of last season, and he’s played as little as the injured Ilya Mikheyev and Morgan Rielly. Alexander Barabanov has been sitting since March after only 15 games in the KHL. Nic Petan participated in the RTP training camp, but his 15 games is his yearly total as well.
If training camp is only 10 days long, and with no exhibition games, players like Barabanov and Joey Anderson are going to have a tough time making an impact. Look out for Joe Thornton, though. He’s in game shape. And so, interestingly, is Denis Malgin. Meanwhile Nick Robertson has been kept out of the WJC, so he’ll be around for training camp, whenever it is, and he just has to hope he’s in the best shape of his life to match up to the rest of these gym rats.