Maple Leafs' John Klngberg heads to long-term injured reserve

As many suspected would be the case, it's off to "Robidas Island" for the laboring Leafs defenseman.

John Klingberg is heading to Robidas Island. (Photo by Gavin Napier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
John Klingberg is heading to Robidas Island. (Photo by Gavin Napier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) (Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Toronto Maple Leafs have placed struggling defenseman John Klingberg on long-term injured reserve (LTIR), the team confirmed Thursday.

Klingberg last played during a Nov. 11 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The veteran defenseman was originally held out of a Nov. 10 game against the Calgary Flames, then returned to the lineup the following day before missing both of the Maple Leafs’ Global Series games in his home country of Sweden last week.

He was previously ruled out of Toronto’s upcoming games on Friday and Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins, respectively.

The nature of Klingberg’s injury hasn’t been disclosed by the player or his team, but he’s widely believed to be dealing with a hip ailment and previously underwent double hip surgery nearly a decade ago in 2014.

Klingberg has recorded five points in 14 games, primarily operating as Toronto’s power play quarterback. He will now be added to Toronto’s LTIR pool, freeing up $4.15 million from Toronto’s $16.96 million maximum LTIR ceiling for the Maple Leafs to make corresponding moves — although, it’s more likely to be $3.15 million in real money added to the pool when you consider that Conor Timmins is widely expected to be activated from LTIR ahead of Friday’s game against the Blackhawks and his $1.1-million salary will be added to the active roster.

Timmins practiced with the Maple Leafs on Thursday, paired alongside William Lagesson.

Forward Alex Steeves has been called up from the AHL’s Toronto Marlies in a corresponding move. Steeves leads the Marlies in scoring with 11 goals and 18 points in 14 games this season and is currently on an 11-game point streak.

Calle Jarnkrok suffered an injury during practice this week after getting hit by an Auston Matthews shot and will be a game-time decision Friday. In the event Jarnkrok can’t play, Steeves could be slotted in as a direct replacement on the third line with Max Domi and Nick Robertson, or slot down to the fourth line with David Kampf and one of Bobby McMann or Ryan Reaves.