The Maple Leafs' depth on the blue line in terms of numbers quickly has become a thing of the recent past.
The Leafs learned last night that defenceman Jonas Frogren will be out up to six weeks after an MRI revealed two muscle tears in his arm. The injury occurred in the first period of a loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night.
"We thought it could be serious, but we really didn't know," Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher said. "It happened to Jonas on his first shift of the game but he kept playing (before leaving early in the second period)."
The injury to Frogren and the trading of Carlo Colaiacovo to the St. Louis Blues earlier yesterday combined to take a bite out of the Leafs' defence corps. Mike Van Ryn, who skated yesterday for the first time since being crushed from behind by the Montreal Canadiens' Tom Kostopoulos on Nov. 8, remains on the sideline with a broken left hand. Van Ryn plans on skating every day, but he won't be back in the lineup until some point after the Leafs' three-game trip out west ends Dec. 4 in Phoenix.
The Leafs had nine defencemen at one point but are down to six, with Ian White returning to the blue line for the foreseeable future after he performed well at forward for nine games.
Fletcher said there are no plans to call up a defenceman from the minors. Staffan Kronwall leads Toronto Marlies defenders with seven points in 10 games.
Frogren was a healthy scratch in nine of the Leafs' first 19 games and was playing against Chicago in place of Colaiacovo, who was out with a bruised foot.
The 28-year-old Frogren, signed by the Leafs this past summer, has one assist in 10 games. Frogren spent eight seasons in the Swedish Elite League but had said that being a healthy scratch in Toronto was not a problem.