Although there will no doubt be a ton of questions regarding competitive integrity by the time the 2020 Stanley Cup Champion has been crowned, the one thing that this unusual schedule is likely to provide us is a chance to see teams competing at full strength at a time of the year when they are usually anything but.
Teams in the National Hockey League notoriously enter the playoffs with a ton of injury issues stemming from the regular season but this time around all 24 teams participating in the 24 team tournament have been given an extra 4 months of rest. This means that most players, even some with injuries that were previously believed to be season ending, have had time to fully recover from their injuries and in theory will be healthy and ready to go. The Toronto Maple Leafs may soon reap the benefits of this exact scenario with rumblings now that forward Andreas Johnsson may be able to participate in the playoffs.
Now to be clear Johnsson does not appear to be ready to go at this time, however in a recent article for Sportsnet Luke Fox hinted at the fact that the Leafs forward may very well make an appearance in the playoffs. Fox reports that the team is "hopeful" that Johnsson will have rehabilitated from his knee injury by the time the team reaches the second round of the playoffs, assuming of course that the Leafs make it that far into the tournament.
Johnsson had surgery to repair his damaged knee in February and although Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe initially suggested that the forward would be out for at least 8 weeks, following the surgery Johnsson was ruled out for a whopping six months of action. That would have been a season ending injury under any other circumstance but the delay caused by the pandemic may have just given him a second life this season. The timeline would suggest that Johnsson should have fully recovered by some time in mid August, and that is no doubt what the Leafs are hoping for at this time.
We will of course have to wait and see as injuries can be tricky.