The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without the reigning Rocket Richard Trophy winner for at least the first handful of games this season as he continues his recovery from wrist surgery during the offseason.
Auston Matthews, 24, decide to undergo surgery to correct the problem that had been nagging him for some time.
“I just don't personally feel like I'm at the point where I feel 100 per cent comfortable to play,” Matthews said after the Leafs’ practice. “I feel good physically and everything, I just think I need a little bit more time. I'm dying to get in and play, but it's just one of those things that I've got to be patient with and be disciplined [with], and make sure that I'm feeling 100 per cent comfortable going in.”
Thanks to his historic campaign, Matthews became the first Leafs player in 75 years as well as the first United States-born player in 24 years to lead the NHL in goal scoring last season. However, he doesn't want to return until he can be back to the level he expects of himself.
“Physically I feel great out there,” Matthews said. "In the last month or so I've been able to get in some really good work with [skills coach] Darryl [Belfry] and some of the other [coaches] and work on different parts of my game. I just don't feel like I'm where I want to be as far as my wrist goes right now. We're taking it day-by-day.”
“I feel pretty good, I feel like I'm getting a little bit more speed and velocity on it,” he said. “I use a pretty whippy stick, I like to use a bit of downforce when I'm shooting. I feel like I'm more comfortable in that area and I'm not like shying away from shooting the puck like I want to.”
The Leafs begin the season Wednesday night against the Montreal Canadiens.