This isn’t what Toronto Maple Leafs fans want to hear with the Stanley Cup Playoffs right around the corner.
Defenceman Jake Gardiner, who has been out with a back injury since Feb. 25, isn’t progressing as quickly as originally hoped, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported Saturday during the Headlines segment of Hockey Night in Canada.
Gardiner has yet to resume skating and there remains no definitive timetable for his return.
The pending unrestricted free agent has 29 points in 60 games played this season. The team has now gone 5-4-1 in his absence after Saturday’s drubbing courtesy of the Ottawa Senators.
Travis Dermott is also out with an injury but it appears he is much closer to returning to the lineup than Gardiner at this point.
Martin Marincin, Justin Holl and Igor Ozhiganov have all gotten some extra playing time while Gardiner and Dermott recover. Calle Rosen is in the midst of an impressive season with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies and once he recovers from a foot injury he could also potentially compete for a spot on the Leafs’ blue line.