Joffrey Lupul (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Stephane Robidas and Joffrey Lupul may have played their final games as members of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto GM Lou Lamoriello said the future of the two veterans is “unknown” as the off-season approaches.
While meeting with media Sunday, Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello said the future of both Robidas and Lupul is “unknown,” which could mean both veterans are either on the shelf for the remainder of their contracts or not in Toronto’s future plans.
That’s more surprising when it comes to Lupul, 32, who still has two years and $10.5 million remaining on his contract with the Maple Leafs. Lupul has dealt with a number of injuries over the past several seasons and was limited to only 46 games with Toronto this season, but he was still able to contribute 11 goals and 14 points in a middle-six role with the Maple Leafs.
If Lupul were able to remain healthy, his future might be more certain, but his injury troubles have been almost insurmountable over the past several seasons. Lupul has rarely been healthy for long stretches of time, and most recently he was sidelined with a sports hernia that has kept him out of action since early February. Beyond the hernia, Lupul has dealt with knee surgery, a broken hand, groin strain, forearm injury, separated shoulder and concussion over his past five seasons in Toronto.
Since being acquired by the Maple Leafs in 2011 as part of a package with Jake Gardiner for defenseman Francois Beauchemin, Lupul has been unable to eclipse 70 games in a single season, but his 67- and 44-point seasons while a Maple Leafs were two of the best of his career. Unfortunately, Lupul missed 124 of a possible 404 games in Toronto.
If the Maple Leafs attempt to deal Lupul, they may need to retain some of his salary, but that shouldn’t be a major concern for Toronto considering current projections have them with more than $20 million in salary cap space open next season.
As for Robidas, the writing was likely on the wall as it pertains to the 39-year-old blueliner. He has only one season remaining on his contract but has played on 52 games total over the past two seasons for the Maple Leafs, and has missed the entirety of the 2015-16 campaign with a knee injury. Robidas was inked to a three-year, $9-million deal in 2014, but he’s failed to live up to the expectations the Maple Leafs’ front office had for him.
Nothing is certain yet for either player, but the Maple Leafs appear willing to go ahead with the youth movement, and that could mean any veteran players lingering on the roster — not just Lupul and Robidas — may not have much of a future in Toronto.