Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin is out for the season with a spine injury

Jake Muzzin will not play again this season.

It remains to be seen if the veteran defenseman can resume his NHL career.

The Maple Leafs announced Thursday that ailing Toronto blueliner will not suit up again in 2022-23 after initially suffering the injury on Oct. 17 in a collision with Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller.

Toronto announced back in November that Muzzin would re-evaluate in February.

“After follow-up consultation this month with various specialists, our medical team has determined that (Muzzin) has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2022-23 regular season and the playoffs while he recovers from a cervical spine injury,” the Leafs said in. statement.

“The club will provide a further update on his status at training camp in September.”

The six-foot-four, 227-pound native of Woodstock, Ont., had one assist in four games this season, most of which was spent on long-term injured reserve.

Significant injury history

Muzzin, whose significant injury history includes concussions, was limited to 47 games in 2021-22.

The brutal 34-year-old won a Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings in 2014 and was acquired by Toronto via trade in January 2019.

Often viewed as the conscience of the team’s locker room as a capable center to get past their playoff hump, Muzzin subsequently signed a four-year, $22.5 million US contract with the Leafs in February 2020 that carries a $5.625 million salary cap hit through the end of this season. next.

Toronto general manager Kyle Dubas now has a level of clarity ahead of the March 3 trade deadline if he wants to add to a blue line that suffered a string of absences earlier in the schedule — or upgrade elsewhere after Ryan O ‘Reilly and Ryan O’Reilly already get. Noel Acciari late Friday from the St. Louis Blues.

In a media availability with reporters earlier this month, Dubas said that defenseman TJ Brodie has taken a big step to absorb much of Muzzin’s “tough moments” against the Warriors. best players for each other.

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Long road to the NHL game

Muzzin took the long road to the NHL.

He did not sign with the Pittsburgh Penguins after they selected him in the fifth round of the 2007 NHL draft after his first season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

Muzzin re-entered the draft in 2009, but was passed on before returning to Sault Ste. Marie as a middle infielder and finally signed with Los Angeles in January 2010.

Muzzin registered 294 points (69 goals, 225 assists) and 399 penalty minutes in 683 regular-season NHL games with the Kings and Leafs.

He added 11 goals and 28 points in 72 playoff games.

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