Montreal Canadiens: NHL Allowing Toronto Maple Leafs To Break Rules Yet Again

Oct 11, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Ryan Reaves (75) fights with
Oct 11, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Ryan Reaves (75) fights with / Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens have dealt with their fair share of injuries this season. The difference between them and their rivals is the Habs have dealt with their injuries fairly.

Players like Kirby Dach, Alex Newhook, Christian Dvorak and Tanner Pearson have missed a considerable amount of time, but they are actually injured. When a player is actually injured they are eligible to be placed on injured reserve, or long-term injured reserve and do not count against the 23 player roster limit.

This allows the Canadiens, or any other team, to recall a player from the minors to replace their injured player and still ice a competitive lineup. Again, the obvious caveat here being the player is supposed to be injured.

The Toronto Maple Leafs infamously invented "Robidas Island" years ago which has become a way to refer to players who are no longer effective so their team just makes them disappear. This affords them roster relief and at times cap relief as well if the player ends up on long ter, injured reserve like Robidas did.

Ironically, Robidas is now on the bench for the Canadiens as their assistant coach. He has shown up for every game.

More recently, Joffrey Lupul landed on LTIR with the Maple Leafs, though he himself claimed he was healthy and ready to play. The Leafs just didn't want to have him on their cap any more so they insisted his injury was career threatening.

The same thing happened to Jared Cowen when he was not performing up to his contract and Matt Murray also found his way onto LTIR at the exact right moment for the Maple Leafs last season. John Klingberg looked terrible at the start of this season and the Maple Leafs washed their hands of him when an injury he was apparently dealing with for years became too much to bear.

This season, Ryan Reaves has been on injured reserve long enough to miss 18 games. The problem is, he claimed he was healthy enough to play weeks ago. In an interview with Luke Fox of Sportsnet on the weekend, Reaves said he wanted to get back in the lineup and was just waiting for his name to be called for a few weeks since he feels ready to go.

So, once again, the Maple Leafs are just using injured reserve as a taxi squad of players who collect paycheques but don't take up roster spots. This allowed them to call up replacement players without having to send anyone down, and kind of avoid the embarrassment of placing Reaves on waivers to do so.

Reaves signed a three-year contract for some reason with a cap hit of $1.35 million. Everyone knew at the time it was a ridiculous contract but it took the Maple Leafs watching the former enforcer be completely ineffective for 21 games before they had enough of him.

The question is, why does the league continue to allow the Maple Leafs to do this? They are clearly breaking the rules by stashing healthy players on injured reserve and should be stripped of draft picks for doing so.