Toronto Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe announced today that forward Auston Matthews will not play against the Edmonton Oilers tonight. The star centreman is listed as day-to-day with upper-body soreness.
Sheldon Keefe says Auston Matthews won’t play tonight vs EDM. Day-to-day w/upper-body soreness
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 22, 2021
Auston Matthews Out Tonight
Matthews’ injury is believed to be short term. His absence for tonight’s game is more of a precautionary measure that has been taken by Toronto.
However, the injury comes at a bad time for the Maple Leafs who are already struggling for forward depth. The news comes just two days after Joe Thornton left the ice during the Leafs’ previous game, which was also against the Oilers. It has since been confirmed that Thornton will miss four weeks with a fractured rib. He will likely join left-wing Nicholas Robertson on long-term injured reserve, who suffered a knee injury last week.
Auston Matthews has started his season with good production. He has two goals on the year, including the game-winner in the second game of the back-to-back with the Ottawa Senators. He is also averaging a point per game after five played.
Meanwhile, the Leafs have won three of their first five games. Toronto’s upcoming schedule includes the home game tonight against Edmonton and then double-headers in Alberta against both the Calgary Flames and the Oilers again.
What This Means Going Forward
The Leafs are now without two members of their first line and will need to call upon their taxi squad to make up the numbers tonight. The likely additions to the Leafs lineup will be a combination of Alexander Barabanov, Joey Anderson, Pierre Engvall and Adam Brooks. Newly-acquired Joey Anderson played for the New Jersey Devils last season. He has eight goals in 52 NHL games. Meanwhile, given that the Leafs are struggling at centre, Adam Brooks is an interesting option, He played only seven games last season for Toronto. He has yet to score an NHL goal.
Both Engvall and Barabanov have played most recently for the Leafs. Barabanov has played two of the first five games this season. Engvall scored eight goals and 15 points in 48 regular-season games in 2019-20 for the Leafs.
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