Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews worked on shooting drills and took part in practice at Ford Performance Centre, marking the first time he joined his teammates for an on-ice session since training camp opened last week.
Matthews underwent wrist surgery on Aug. 13. The wrist bothered the sniper throughout the 2021 season, but it didn’t stop the American forward from claiming the Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard Trophy, handed out annually to the player who scores the most goals in the regular season.
“I think what’s really impressive, especially battling his injury last year, is his ability to adapt his game,” Maple Leafs captain John Tavares said. “Obviously, he has such a unique shot and release, his ability to find ways to produce in different ways is such a key factor why he is so consistent.”
Matthews scored 41 goals in 52 games last season. He spent nearly 30 minutes on the ice with the first group of players that took part in practice on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old had been skating every day since camp opened as he worked on his conditioning. He is expected to be in the lineup in time for opening night when the Leafs host the Montreal Canadiens. Based on his current trajectory, he could possibly get into some pre-season action.
“You can tell he’s come with some things that he’s been focusing on here through the summer and he looks great off the ice and we’re excited to see him on,” Leafs forward Jason Spezza said of Matthews.
More to come…