Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews is listed as day-to-day with a shoulder injury, the club announced Friday.
The injury was sustained in the third period of Thursday’s contest against the New York Islanders. Toronto won the game, but lost Matthews with 1:06 remaining in the final frame.
The 20-year-old did not practice with the team Friday and Mike Babcock said more would be known about the exact nature of the injury on Saturday.
Matthews has already missed 10 games this season due to injury.
He has 28 goals and 22 assists for a total of 50 points in 53 games this season.
Last season, Matthews posted 69 points and skated on all 82 games for his rookie campaign.
He was on pace for about 40 goals, but it doesn’t look like he’ll hit the mark this season.
Nevertheless, the Maple Leafs are looking to be in good shape. They’re third in the Atlantic Division with a 38-20-5 record, 21 points ahead of the Florida Panthers. That all but assures a playoff berth for Toronto.
And that all but assures that Matthews won’t be rushed back ahead of schedule, which means the Leafs will wisely exercise caution in this situation.
Even if Matthews misses a handful of games to close out the season, Toronto won’t see their playoff hopes evaporate. It’s a good position to be in.
Still, losing Matthews isn’t exactly a great thing.
“It sucks,” said Mitch Marner. “He’s a big part of this team. I mean he’s a once-in-a-lifetime player on a team. So, it’s nice to have that and it sucks when you see him get [knocked] out of the game.”
Toronto has a dozen wins in 14 games and plenty to be proud of, but it might be easy for cynicism to sneak in. And with Matthews leading the charge, the Maple Leafs are going to miss him no matter how long he’s out.