Robidas won’t be part of Leafs’ opening night roster

Watch as Stephane Robidas scores his first goal as a Toronto Maple Leaf and officially becomes the oldest defenceman to score a goal for Toronto since 40-year-old Tim Horton in 1970.

TORONTO — Stephane Robidas will not start the season on the Toronto Maple Leafs active roster. It remains to be seen whether he’ll ever get back there again.

The 38-year-old defenceman was already believed to be the odd man out at training camp, and is now facing an uphill climb back to the NHL because of a lingering knee issue that Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock says developed into a groin problem.

“We’ve known that he’s been hurt,” Babcock told reporters after Monday’s practice. “And obviously he got to a point (where he can’t play through it) — and that’s sometimes the way it is with injuries. I mean we had an off day yesterday, he came in today and he did what he’s supposed to do, tried to get ready to go, and he wasn’t able to go.

“The great thing about pro athletes is they know their own bodies better than anyone else, so between him and our medical staff, we’ll get it figured out.”

What it means for the time being is that Robidas will be placed on injured reserve to get the Leafs down to the 23-man roster limit before Tuesday’s 5 p.m. ET deadline. If the problem persists, he could eventually be shifted to long-term injured reserve.

There are still two years (and $5-million in actual salary commitments) remaining on his contract with Toronto, but mounting injuries have slowed Robidas considerably. He twice broke his right leg during the 2013-14 season and had last year end in early March because of surgery to repair a torn labrum and rotator cuff in his left shoulder.

Robidas appeared in three pre-season games during training camp, including a 19-minute effort in Detroit on Friday night. By then he could sense that his job was in jeopardy.

Among the seven defencemen due to start the year with the Leafs are 22-year-old Scott Harrington and 23-year-old Martin Marincin — both acquired in trades over the summer.

Robidas was originally brought here on a $9-million, three-year contract by former GM Dave Nonis with hopes that he would have a positive influence on a young dressing room. He wound up appearing in 52 games last season for Toronto, bringing his career total to 937 over parts of 16 NHL seasons with Montreal, Dallas, Chicago, Anaheim and the Leafs.

As classy as they come, Robidas now faces an uncertain future. Babcock says that no timeline has been placed on his return.

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This is an updated version of a story that was originally published earlier Monday.

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