Auston Matthews is expected to miss the start of training camp for the Toronto Maple Leafs after having wrist surgery Friday.
The forward will be out a minimum of six weeks. He experienced discomfort after increasing his on-ice training this week.
Matthews dealt with a wrist injury for most of last season, when he scored 66 points (41 goals, 25 assists) in 52 games. He missed two games Feb. 27 and March 1 after aggravating the injury, which coach Sheldon Keefe said affected his shot and how the Maple Leafs used the center.
“It’s been all right,” Matthews said March 8. “Still need it to progress a bit. … Definitely would like to see it heal a bit.”
Though a start date hasn’t been announced, the Maple Leafs are expected to open camp in mid-September. Their first preseason game is Sept. 25 — six weeks from Saturday — at home against the Montreal Canadiens, and they’ll open the regular season by hosting the Canadiens on Oct. 13.
Matthews won the Rocket Richard Trophy as the leading goal-scorer in the NHL last season, finishing with eight more than Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid, who was second. He became the first Maple Leafs player in 75 years (Gaye Stewart, 37 goals in 1945-46), and the first United States-born player in 24 years (Keith Tkachuk, 52 for the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996-97), to lead the NHL in goals.
Toronto (35-14-7) finished first in the Scotia North Division but was eliminated by Montreal in seven games in the Stanley Cup First Round, when Matthews scored five points (one goal, four assists).
“He’s had a tremendous season yet not a smooth season,” Keefe said May 18, two days before the series began. “We all know he’s been dealing at different times with injury situations that have directly impacted his ability to shoot and handle the puck, and so that makes you wonder what could have happened had [he] been healthy all the way through.”
Selected by the Maple Leafs with the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, Matthews has scored 351 points (199 goals, 152 assists) in 334 regular-season games. Since entering the NHL, he has scored the second-most goals in the League behind Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (205), who has played 24 more games.