With the gaping hole they have up the middle right now, the Maple Leafs can ill afford to lose another centre.
Yet, that's the position Nazem Kadri might have put his team into after he ploughed into Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom in the first period of Toronto's 2-1 shootout defeat at the Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday night.
Already missing David Bolland (tendon surgery) and Tyler Bozak (hamstring) to injury, the potential of losing Kadri to supplementary discipline for flattening Backstrom would leave the Leafs with out-of-position James van Riemsdyk, the defensive-minded Jay McClement and recently-signed journeyman Jerred Smithson as their top three centres. No offence to those three gamers, but that trio hardly leaves teams quivering in their skates.
If that wasn't bad enough, Kadri followed that up by what the officials deemed to be a head shot to the Wild's Mikael Granlund and was assessed a match penalty in the third period.