Toronto Maple Leafs: Auston Matthews will miss first 3 games; Ilya Mikheyev out 8 weeks

Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews will miss the first three games of the season as he continues to recover from wrist surgery.

Head coach Sheldon Keefe said Monday that the 24-year-old center is unavailable this week. Toronto opens the season Wednesday at home against Montreal, then travels to Ottawa on Thursday before hosting the Senators on Saturday.

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Auston Matthews not “100% comfortable” with wrist

“I just don’t personally feel like I’m at the point that I feel 100% comfortable to play so that’s really all it is,” Matthews said via “I feel good physically and everything, I just think I need a little more time. I’m dying to get in and play honestly and get reps with the guys but it’s just one of those things where I have to be patient and be disciplined and make sure I’m feel 100% comfortable going in.”

Matthews, who led the NHL with 41 goals in 52 games last season, enters his sixth season with 199 career goals. He has 152 assists and 351 points in 334 games since Toronto drafted him No. 1 overall in 2016.

Matthews had surgery on Aug. 13 and began participating in contact drills earlier this month.

Leafs without Mikheyev for 8 weeks

illa mikheyev hand injury
Oct 5, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Ilya Mikheyev (65) skates against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs received some initial bad news on Ilya Mikheyev’s hand injury last week. According to Keefe, they expected him to be out for some time. A more definitive timeline was expected in the coming days.

Today, he announced that forward Ilya Mikheyev needs thumb surgery and will be out approximately eight weeks.

Mikheyev, who turned 27 on Sunday, tallied seven goals and 10 assists in 54 games last season. He had 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 39 games during his 2019-20 rookie season with the Leafs.

This is a blow to both him and the Leafs as he was expected to take on a much larger role with the departures of Zach Hyman and Joe Thornton.

–Field Level Media contributed to this report