Toronto Maple Leafs centre Tyler Bozak suffered a lower-body injury on Saturday, October 26 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Little has been publicized about the severity of Bozak’s ailment but it may be serious. Today, the Fan 590’s David Alter tweeted that the club has placed their number one centre on Long Term Injured Reserve. The roster move frees up cap space, allowing winger Nikolai Kulemin to return to the lineup without the Leafs being forced to send a player down to their AHL affiliate team, the Toronto Marlies. The earliest Bozak can return is November 21st against the Nashville Predators.
Tyler Bozak has been placed on Long Term Injured Reserve, will not be able to return to action until NOV 21st vs Preds at Earliest. #Leafs
— David Alter (@dalter) November 2, 2013
2012-13 breakout player Nazem Kadri has immediately benefited from the loss of Bozak. The Leafs hopeful young centre is enjoying a promotion on the top-line alongside sniper Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk. So far, the newly formed line has been lighting it up offensively. In a two-game cruise through Alberta, Kadri posted 1 goal and 3 assists. The sample size is small and the opponents weren’t the best examples of NHL excellence, however, the Kessel line has shown its ability to create magic offensively.
The Leafs search for a first line centre has been ongoing since the day Mats Sundin left the organization. The hope in Leaf Nation is that Kadri can become the number one centre the team desperately needs.
Tonight the Leafs play the toughest of Canada’s three Western teams, the Vancouver Canucks. The game will provide a difficult challenge for Kadri, Kessel and JVR. If the top line can succeed in Vancouver, they may have something special in the works.