After scoring five goals in six games — his best stretch of goal-scoring form since October of 2018 in Philadelphia — Wayne Simmonds has been dealt an injury blow that could leave him out of the lineup for six weeks, according to Elliotte Friedman.

After taking a puck to the left wrist while pressuring Vancouver defenseman Alex Edler on the forecheck, Simmonds showed visible signs of discomfort on the bench before leaving the game.

Following a quiet first six games with zero points, 9:34 average time on ice, and a -5 plus/minus, Simmonds was rediscovering his scoring touch and earning his way up the lineup in his recent stretch of performances. His presence at the front of the net has played a role directly or indirectly in many goals during the Leafs’ current 7-0-1 tear. His roof job in tight on the power-play last night was his most impressive work to date, not to mention his deft tip for his second goal later on in the night.

Simmonds also dropped the gloves against Jordie Benn on Thursday, where he again showcased his impressive boxing skills — as he did in the season opener against Ben Chariot — and ability to finish fights with a potent right hand.

If there is any silver lining to this, it’s that the injury is not some sort of soft-tissue lower-body ailment that would immobilize Simmonds or prevent him from skating and keeping himself in the kind of shape he described as the best he’s been in for many years entering into the season.

Simmonds joins Nick Robertson, Joe Thornton, and Jack Campbell — Travis Dermott also missed the game last night through injury, but it is thought to be minor — on the Leafs‘ injury list. If Friedman’s reported timeline is accurate, Simmonds will be LTIR bound, as the Leafs’ best-laid plans to accrue cap space with an eye towards the trade deadline this season continue to go by the wayside due to the accumulation of injuries.

Sheldon Keefe could move Ilya Mikheyev back up onto the John Tavares line — Mikheyev badly needs an offensive breakthrough — and then reinsert Pierre Engvall or Alex Barabanov into the lineup. Joey Anderson, currently with the Marlies group, is a right-handed wing option as well if they want to return him to the taxi squad.

Robertson and Thornton should both be nearing a return within a week or two, which gives the Leafs improved depth options at that point. With Zach Hyman settling in next to Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, there may be a good fit for Thornton next to John Tavares and William Nylander when the time comes; that gives a playmaker in Thornton two triggermen to play with, and a line that doesn’t play at quite the same breakneck pace off the rush as a Matthews-Marner line.

The power play is where Simmonds’ impact was particularly notable, as he’s made a highly-dynamic unit even more of a handful with his fearlessness, hand-eye coordination, and finishing ability in tight at the net-front — a calibre of net-front presence not enjoyed in Toronto since the exit of James van Riemsdyk (those 2016-2018 power plays clicked at an elite rate of 24-25% over two years).

Keefe has stated an intention multiple times since camp opened to return to the top-loaded unit from last season at different times this year to keep the option available to them, and this may be the time to do so. That would include William Nylander at the net front on the Matthews-Marner unit, although Manny Malhotra and the Leafs coaching staff may want to keep rolling with a two-unit setup that has been clicking at an extraordinary rate.