Leafs Facing Serious Trouble After William Nylander’s Injury Update

William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs might be out Game 1

Getty William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs could miss Game 1

One day before starting their postseason run on Saturday, the Toronto Maple Leafs held a practice on Friday, April 19, in which neither William Nylander nor Bobby McMann were present.

Nylander and McMann both missed the training session and were absent on the ice. Toronto is scheduled to play Game 1 of their Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Boston Bruins, the third consecutive time both franchises have kicked off the playoffs meeting each other.

“Nylander and McMann both stayed off the ice today, but both are possibilities for tomorrow,” Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe told reporters after practice on April 19. “That’s it.”

Keefe’s update was, in fairness, rather empty of value when it comes to detailing the status of Nylander and McMann and the reasons that held them out of practice.

There was, however, a reason for Keefe’s vagueness in providing an injury update.

“[Leafs’ General Manager Brad Treliving] has made it pretty clear there’s not going to be any daily injury updates or anything like that,” Keefe revealed.

Maple Leafs Could Miss William Nylander in Game 1

During the final month of regular-season play, Nylander failed to score a single goal in 11 games. The forward, however, was hot right before that scoring 6 goals in the seven games he played before that empty run.

Leafs’ center Calle Jarnkrok spoke after practice on April 19, noticing the absence of Nylander and providing some reasons for concern if the winger cannot play against the Bruins on Game 1, scheduled for puck drop on Saturday.

“It’s tough to replace Willy,” Jarnkrok told reporters on April 19. “I don’t even know what’s going on with him.

“Hopefully, he can play, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see tomorrow.”

Jarnkrok has a point. Even though Nylander might be heading into the playoffs riding a cold streak of outings, the truth is that his season has been far from bad.

Nylander finished the season with 98 points (10th most in the NHL) while scoring 40 goals and assisting 58. The 40-goal figure was only topped by 14 other players across the league, and just by one (Auston Matthews, 69) of his teammates in Toronto. The same can be said about Nylander’s assists, with fellow Leafs forward Mitch Marner getting more (59) than him.

Maple Leafs Facing Multiple Injury Concerns Entering Playoffs

Along with Nylander, McMann also missed Friday’s practice. That’s concerning for the Leafs, as McMann has fluctuated between the second and third forward lines during the final season’s games. Missing him would be akin to losing a key performer on offense.

McMann is dealing with a lower-body injury. He already missed the final two regular-season games, wrapping up the year with 15 goals and 9 assists for 24 points in 56 appearances.

Fellow forward Max Domi (9 goals and 38 assists) also missed those final two games of the regular season with an undisclosed injury, but Domi was back at Leafs’ practice on Friday on the top line.

The Leafs are expected to keep that line intact entering the playoffs, featuring Domi, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Auston Matthews, per Mark Masters of TSN.

Finally, on defense, T.J. Brodie was removed by coach Keefe from the top six defensemen, which means he could be a scratch for Saturday’s first-round opener against the Bruins.

Morgan Rielly and Ilya Lyubushkin formed the top pairing, Simon Benoit skated with Jake McCabe, and Joel Edmundson was paired with Timothy Liljegren to close the top six.

Read More