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Maple Leafs C Auston Matthews to miss at least three weeks with knee sprain

Toronto will be without its top-line center for almost a month.

Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs waits for a faceoff against the New York Rangers during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on January 25, 2023 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Rangers 3-2 in overtime. Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs C Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks due to a knee sprain. Matthews is expected to miss the NHL All-Star Game for the Atlantic Division. Florida Panthers C Aleksander Barkov is set to replace Matthews in the game. Matthews had missed a few games with an undisclosed injury before returning to the lineup. The reigning NHL MVP has had a rough season after scoring 60 goals in 2021-22.

With Matthews out, the Maple Leafs will need to shuffle their lines again. They had just reunited Mitch Marner with Matthews on the top line. John Tavares and William Nylander are on the second line with Calle Jarnkrok. We could see Nylander split out to center the second line while Tavares reunites with Marner on the top line. Pierre Engvall was the wing to move up into the top-6 when Matthews was out.

This shouldn’t impact too much on Friday night with the Maple Leafs taking on the Ottawa Senators at home. The Sens are 4-6-0 in their last 10 games and are 8-12-2 on the road this season. The Leafs were -205 on the moneyline against the Sens on Friday before the Matthews injury news.

There aren’t really any ways to replace Matthews in fantasy hockey. Michael Bunting may be available off the waiver wire but he was always a product of Matthews. Engvall isn’t really fantasy viable. Jarnkrok, Bobby McCann and Alex Kerfoot are candidates for more ice time and the latter two could move up the lineup at some point. Leaning on Marner-Tavares-Nylander stacks in DFS will be trendy. We should see that trio shifting together in some instances.