Hot on the heels of the Stephane Robidas surgery announcement, the Toronto Maple Leafs have shut down another veteran defenceman. This time, Roman Polak is bowing out for the year, opting to undergo hernia surgery.
According to Chris Johnston, this issue has been nagging Polak the entire season, and he suffered a severe setback when facing the St. Louis Blues, his former team. Unlike Robidas, however, the Leafs had some incentive to keep playing Polak. While his underlying numbers haven’t been fantastic, Polak was used in much tougher situations and wasn’t bailed out by goaltending to the same degree.
This makes you wonder if the high price that Dave Nonis and company put on Polak at the trade deadline was a posturing effort; if his hernia had been messed up for this long, it’s unlike that he would have passed a physical, but stating they wanted big value for him made the team look serious about selling and keeps his price high once he’s fully recovered. Shutting him down now allows for that to come earlier in the offseason.
To replace Polak, the Leafs have called up Petter Granberg. Granberg has looked underwhelming in his six games with the Leafs this year, but just wrapped up a fantastic weekend with the Toronto Marlies, which included a four-assist night on Friday against the Adirondack Flames, which he described as the best offensive performance of his competitive career.