Though he scored a goal late in last night’s game against the Washington Capitals, John Tavares suffered a broken finger and will be out of the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup for a minimum of two weeks. He will be reassessed at that time. Tavares was hit by a point shot earlier in the game and seemed to be favoring his hand, but kept playing.
This is exactly the type of injury trouble that the Maple Leafs can’t afford to deal with given how top-heavy their lineup is at the moment. After handing out more than $30MM to three forwards, the bottom of the roster is made up by less experienced or less effective options that will need to step up. With Tavares out and Zach Hyman still recovering, two-thirds of the team’s top line will watch as the Maple Leafs take on the Boston Bruins twice over the next week.
Though the Maple Leafs have two of the best centers in the game in Tavares and Auston Matthews, their depth at the position will be tested with one of them out. The team could move William Nylander back to the middle or promote Alexander Kerfoot to the top line, but neither option is ideal at this point. It could mean a return to action for Jason Spezza, who has been a healthy scratch several times this season but comes with plenty of experience in an offensive role.