Injury Report: The worst has been confirmed for Leafs’ Matthews

​Uh oh… awful news for the Leafs heading into the stretch drive and the playoffs.

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According to a report late last night from Sportsnet insider Nick Kypreos, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews will be out of his team’s lineup for the next two to four weeks as he recovers from a shoulder separation.

It's believed that Matthews suffered the injury during the Leafs' Thursday night victory over the New York Islanders. Matthews collided with the Islanders' Adam Pelech and Cal Clutterback while trying to cut to the net and left in some discomfort. 

Check it out:

Initially, it was thought that Matthews' injury wasn't serious, but it appears that the MRI revealed more damage than originally thought. Sure enough, Leafs insider James Mirtle broke the news today that Matthews has been placed on the IR:

After tomorrow afternoon's deadline, the NHL's 23-man roster limit no longer exists, so technically the Leafs could take Matthews off the IR as early as tomorrow afternoon. 

Still... if Matthews is as banged up as the Leafs say he is, he won't be taken off the IR anytime soon. With the playoffs right around the corner and with the Leafs securely in a playoff position, it makes no sense to risk further injury to the young superstar. Kypreos said as much during his Saturday Headlines segment on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada last night.

“It’s been described to me as a second-degree shoulder separation,” Kypreos said. “Typically, that is two-to-four weeks. In the Leafs’ case, they don’t want to rush it back. They’ve built up this war chest of points in the standings. The most important thing to the Leaf management team is that he comes back healthy and pain free.”

The 20-year-old Matthews has 28 goals and 22 assists in 53 games for the Leafs this season.

Leafs land Plekanec

In a shocking development, the Montreal Canadiens traded forward Tomas Plekanec to the Leafs earlier today in exchange for a package of picks and prospects.

According to a report from TSN's Pierre LeBrun, the Habs have retained 50% of Plekanec's salary in the trade:

LeBrun is also reporting this morning that there were three teams in the running for Plekanec's services, but that the Leafs ultimately stepped up to pay the price:

The 35-year-old center who has played his entire career with the Habs' organization has just six goals and 24 points this season, but was a perennial 15-25 goal scorer for years in the NHL. He's just two seasons removed from a 54 point performance and could find himself reinvigorated playing for a young, fast and uptempo Leafs squad. 

As for the return, the Habs acquire two mid-level prospects in Kerby Rychel and Rinat Valiev.

The 23-year-old Rychel was acquired by the Leafs from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for defenseman Scott Harrington back in the summer of 2016. Since then, Rychel has played a season and a half for the Leafs' farm team the Toronto Marlies, but has yet to earn himself an NHL callup. The former first round pick (19th overall in 2013) has 10 goals and 30 points in 55 games with the Marlies this season. His AHL teammate, Valiev is a prototypical shut-down defender. The 22-year-old Russian has five goals and 15 points in 40 games with the Marlies this season.