TORONTO — Auston Matthews skated with the main group at Toronto Maple Leafs training camp Tuesday for the first time since he had wrist surgery Aug 13.
The 24-year-old center took part in all drills, including puck-handling and taking shots, but departed after about 30 minutes of the hourlong session and did not address the media following practice.
“It was great to see him,” said captain John Tavares, who skated in the same session as Matthews. “Obviously we know how important he is to the team and just his presence on and off the ice. It’s great to see progress being made and hopefully he’s back with us here full time soon.”
Matthews handled the puck for the first time Friday.
Coach Sheldon Keefe said then that Matthews remains on track to play in the Maple Leafs season opener against the Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 13.
“We are very confident it is going to be before the opening of the regular season and of course if we can get him into some exhibition games, that would be even better,” Keefe said Friday.
Matthews played most of last season with the wrist injury but led the NHL with 41 goals in 52 games.
“Obviously sky is the limit for him,” Tavares said. “I know he just wants to continue to improve and not rest on what has made him successful. What’s really impressive battling the injury last year was his ability to adapt his game. He has such a unique shot and release, and I know it’s talked about so much, but his ability to adjust when that’s not available to him, whether if it’s because something is bothering him, or the opponent is taking his time and space away. His ability to find ways to produce in different ways is why he’s become so consistent and so dangerous.”