The Toronto Maple Leafs picked up a bitter sweet victory on Wednesday with a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. But midway through the second period, forward Joffrey Lupul left the game with what is being described as a broken forearm after taking a Dion Phaneuf shot in the arm.
Lupul was just out of signing a five-year deal worth $26 million that followed a career year last season that saw the 29-year old score 25 goals and add 44 assists for 67 points 66 games. He’s found a home alongside Phil Kessel on the Leafs top line and was considered a critical piece to try and propel the Maple Leafs into the playoffs this season.
Given the short schedule, Lupul’s injury handcuffs the Leafs on the top line, something that could force new GM, David Nonis to deal for a legitimate top six forward.
The timeline on Lupul’s return is uncertain at this point, but this injury typically takes anywhere from 4-6 weeks before he’ll be ready for game action, possibly longer. With a sprint to the playoffs, the Leafs need to replace to Lupul’s production during his absence as a 4-week slump will all but write off any chance of making the spring dance.