Toronto forward Joffrey Lupul has been placed on injured reserve after breaking his forearm Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.
To fill his spot on the roster, the Leafs have recalled Matt Frattin from the AHL Marlies.
While Frattin is a solid replacement as far as AHL call-ups go — he had 15 points in 56 games for Toronto last year — there’s no denying the Lupul loss is a profound one for the Leafs.
Under normal circumstances, Lupul’s injury would be a significant one but, in a shortened season, it’s even more severe and could cost him a huge chunk of playing time. The Leafs said he’ll be examined on Thursday to gauge the severity.
In terms of recovery period (for a professional athlete), do consider that New England TE Rob Gronkowski broke his forearm on Nov. 18 and returned to play on Dec. 30 with a heavily bandaged/padded arm.
But, also consider he re-broke his forearm in the AFC Divisional playoff against Houston.
As for other issues, Damien Cox of the Toronto Star points out this won’t help Lupul’s reputation as a injury-prone player:
His reputation in some eyes as a little brittle won’t be helped, unfair as that is given that this was totally a freak injury.
Lupul misses almost all of 2010 with complications from back surgery. Last year, he suffered a shoulder injury that ruined what was a career season. He was so intent on making this season a good one he decided not to join Canada at the world championships, preferring instead to rehab his shoulder.
He reluctantly went to Russia during the lockout to get his game going, and according to GM Dave Nonis, came to camp in “excellent” shape.
Oh, Lupul also signed a five-year, $26.25 million extension with the Leafs four days ago.
As they say, timing is everything.
Update: Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle says he expects Lupul to be out at least six weeks.
Update 2: Chris Johnston of the Canadian Press notes that six weeks would cost Lupul around 22 games — roughly half the season.