The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without their captain for the next three weeks, as John Tavares has been ruled out that long with an oblique strain suffered on the weekend, according to Lance Hornby of Postmedia.
A three-week absence essentially ends Tavares’ training camp and likely rules him out for the first few regular season matches, as the Maple Leafs are set to open up their schedule on October 12, just 15 days from now. While it isn’t a huge chunk of the season, Tavares is now 32 and missing training camp will only put him behind the competition upon his return. Toronto was hoping for a big season out of their captain, who is still one of the league’s highest-paid players well into the seven-year deal he signed in 2018.
At the time, the gamble the Maple Leafs made was that the salary cap would continue to go up, making Tavares’ $11MM cap hit a little more palatable. Because of the COVID shutdown and a flat salary cap, the veteran center remains the fifth-highest cap hit in the league, now into the fifth year of the deal. Though he is still an outstanding player – who scored 76 points in 79 games last season – many have argued that his contract has limited the success of the Maple Leafs in recent years, arguing that depth would be more beneficial for an Auston Matthews-led roster.
Whichever side of that debate a Maple Leafs fan comes down on, losing Tavares for the next few weeks certainly isn’t ideal. The team will have to find a different player to fill the second-line center role for the time being.
They can sign Sandin now…..
also move Steeves up in the lines has impressed in camp, make a trade by moving Kerfoot out , to clear some cap space and re-sign Sandin , hopefully Muzzin or Liljegren will be better soon. Hopefully Dubas can figure something out as he may be out very soon anyway since no extension for him.
Those are so tough to come back from