Sunday: Head coach Mike Babcock said that Matthews will be re-evaluated on Monday, according to NHL.com’s Dave McCarthy. However, Babcock did admit that Matthews will not practice Sunday or play in Monday’s game against Calgary.
“He’s not ready right away for sure,” Babcock said.
Saturday: The Toronto Maple Leafs got some bad news as star Auston Matthews suffered a shoulder injury during the second period of their game against the Winnipeg Jets Saturday. The center took a big hit (video here) from Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba and skated off in pain, immediately exiting the game. It didn’t take long before the team announced that he will not return to the game. This marks the third shoulder injury in his career.
Any significant injury would be devastating for both Matthews and the team. The 21-year-old Matthews is having the best start of his career, posting 10 goals and 16 points in the team’s first 10 games (not including this one), but he missed 20 games due to injury last year (including a second-degree shoulder separation injury) and the Maple Leafs would like to avoid another long stretch of games without their star center. Matthews also suffered a significant shoulder injury in juniors. Any injury would likely push John Tavares into an even bigger role for the team as well as promote Nazem Kadri to the team’s second line.
If Matthews does miss time, it could be a way for restricted free agent William Nylander to get that extra leverage and force the team to hand him a contract closer to the $8MM pricetag that he’s asking for. The two sides have been far apart in contract negotiations as time is starting to run out. A significant injury could force Toronto to add some money to the deal to get him into their lineup as quick as possible to keep their offense rolling.