The Toronto Maple Leafs had a welcome sight at practice today when Auston Matthews joined the main group for the first time. Matthews is rehabbing from offseason wrist surgery and had been working out on his own previously, but will now be part of the non-contact drills as he progresses toward full strength. The star center is still on track to be ready for the start of the season, though it is not clear if he will participate in any of the team’s remaining exhibition games.
More injury notes from around the league:
- The Vegas Golden Knights were missing Shea Theodore and Brayden McNabb at practice today, though neither one is considered seriously injured. Head coach Pete DeBoer told reporters including Jesse Granger of The Athletic that Theodore is day-to-day, while McNabb does not have any structural damage to his injured leg. Mark Stone, who was also dealing with a minor injury, was back at practice and “is going to be fine” according to DeBoer.
- The Dallas Stars had both Jani Hakanpaa and Fredrik Karlstrom leave last night’s game with injuries, but head coach Rick Bowness tells team reporter Mike Heika that the former will be just day-to-day. Karlstrom meanwhile will be out “longer” than that, though it’s not clear exactly what that means. The 23-year-old forward has spent the last several seasons in the SHL but is in camp competing for a spot on the NHL roster as his entry-level deal approaches its expiry. Karlstrom is only under contract through the end of this season and has to this point not played a professional game in North America.
- Kirby Dach, who missed a huge chunk of last season due to wrist surgery, told Mark Lazerus of The Athletic that he’s feeling back to 100 percent and has for a while now. He no longer has to think about the injured wrist, which limited him to just 18 games in 2020-21. Still just 20 years old, Dach is poised to assume a huge amount of responsibility for the Blackhawks as a top-six center and should be considered a true breakout contender, given his likely linemates. If the Blackhawks want to contend for the playoffs this season, they’ll need a big performance out of the young forward.