Toronto Maple Leafs’ center and captain John Tavares is expected to be sidelined for three weeks due to an oblique injury. He is expected to be out of at least 4-games at the beginning of the NHL 2022-23 season. The team will be starting their games on October 12 against the Montreal Canadiens.
Undoubtedly, Tavares’ missing spot cannot be filled, but this has opened new opportunities for others to try out the roster line. In the last season, he went up to score 27 goals and 76 points in 79 games and 24 goals in 12 out of 13 NHL seasons. He ranked fourth with his record amongst his team players.
Leafs head towards NHL season without their captain John Tavares
John Tavares sustained the injury during the recent preseason game against the Ottawa Senators on 24 September. Though the team won 4-1, Tavares’ injury left a huge dent in the team’s plans.
Certainly, things have to change now, and Leafs are going through every possible player to set up their new roster plan before the NHL season opens. Tavares thought it was a minor injury and would heal with time, but he couldn’t skate on Tuesday’s team practice.
Even after Saturday’s incident, he participated in skating Monday morning, but things took a grave turn soon. Coach Sheldon Keefe stated, “He has been dealing with something since the game the other night”.
“He thought it was pretty minor, but they had some further tests here later today after we started practice and it has come back with an oblique strain that is going to keep him out a minimum of three weeks.”
“He’s a huge part of our team and it really does alter the plan for sure. But we’ve played without guys before, so for the remainder of the camp it just is additional opportunities for guys to step up and fill in that space.”
“You are not going to replace John, but it does create extra opportunity for us to look at others and others to step up and take advantage of that opportunity”. “At the same time, John and our medical team will do all they can to get him back as soon as possible,” Keefe commented.
Leafs’ have played without many key players in the past. They are optimistic about coming out of this situation soon. Apart from Tavares, defenceman Jake Muzzin, Timothy Liljegren forward Pierre Engvall, and Adam Gaudette are all been up there on the injured list. Defenceman Rasmus Sadin has become a restricted free agent and is out of the camp this season.