Two more veteran Toronto Maple Leafs won't be back this season. But they weren't traded away.
The team officially shut down James van Riemsdyk (broken foot) and Joffrey Lupul (sports hernia) for the final 24 games on Thursday, adding to the team's health woes to end the year.
Van Riemsdyk and Lupul are two of seven Leafs on injured reserve, but it was initially hoped they could return to the lineup. Van Riemsdyk's break, however, did not heal as expected, and he remains in a cast and on crutches seven weeks after first being hurt. Lupul, meanwhile, required surgery.
Strangely enough, the losses are actually a good thing for the last-place Leafs. They give the team increased flexibility heading into Monday's trade deadline as Toronto can now put their combined $9.5-million in salary cap hits on long-term injured reserve and spend that money on incoming contracts.
One of the Leafs key strategies at the deadline will likely be absorbing bad deals from contending teams and getting draft picks or prospects in return.