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Auston Matthews to miss first three games of season for Maple Leafs

Toronto center is dealing with a wrist injury and still isn’t 100 percent ready to play.

Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs reacts against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period in Game Six of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre on May 29, 2021 in Montreal, Canada.  Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs C Auston Matthews is expected to miss the firs three games of the 2021-22 regular season due to a wrist injury, per coach Sheldon Keefe.

The Leafs open the regular season on Wednesday night vs. the Montreal Canadiens. They then play a home-and-home with the Ottawa Senators on Thursday and Saturday. So the expectation is Matthews will miss the first week and be able to return Monday vs. the New York Rangers.

With Matthews out, it has some fantasy hockey and future odds impact. It shouldn’t hurt his Hart Trophy odds dramatically — he’s third-best at +950 to win NHL MVP. If this wrist issue is recurring, which it already is, then it could put a dent in his Hart case later on in the season. John Tavares will likely be on the top line or someone can be promoted to 1C to take Matthews’ place in the short term.

The Leafs are still -175 on the moneyline for the opener vs. the Habs. Montreal will be without goalie Carey Price but Jake Allen is a starting caliber goaltender. The Canadiens are appealing at +145 on the ML coming off a trip to the Stanley Cup Final.