There are several question marks when it comes to the status of the Toronto Maple Leafs' roster ahead of Monday's game in Edmonton where they will once again face off against the Edmonton Oilers, the team that currently has the best chance of catching them in the North Division standings.
The biggest question of course surrounds the status of star forward Auston Matthews who was held out of Saturday night's contest against the Oilers. Over the weekend National Hockey League insider Chris Johnston made comments that indicated that the injury keeping him out was not a serious one.
"I think the most important piece of news if you're the Toronto Maple Leafs is that this does not seem to be a situation that is any cause for real alarm," said Johnston on Saturday. "Auston Matthews has been dealing with a wrist injury throughout this season and it was something he re-aggravated in the game against Calgary earlier this week but he was on the ice at Rogers Place this morning testing things out and I think the decision to keep him out of tonight's game was really situational. If this isn't a first place team and this isn't the start of a road trip with 5 games in 8 days then perhaps he is playing in this one. I suspect we will see Auston back in the lineup quite soon."
On Sunday Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe was asked to provide an update on his star forward and he did so, indicating that there was at least a chance that Matthews would be back in the lineup. It seems that this would line up perfectly with what Johnston said on Saturday, so unless the Leafs are looking to give him extra time to recover I suspect he will play.
"He's progressed here today," admitted Keefe.
What was not as clear however was what the Maple Leafs goaltending situation will look like. Although you would expect that Jack Campbell would get the start after shutting out the Oilers on Saturday, the Leafs first shutout of the season, he was absent from practice on Sunday while taking a maintenance day. Goaltender Frederik Andersen is currently dealing with an injury but he was a full participant in today's practice so it's hard to tell which way Keefe is leaning. He himself hinted at the fact that this could come down to a game time decision.
"Between Campbell and Fred and their situations, we've got a lot of things to sort through that I don't suspect will get sorted out until tomorrow night," admitted the Leafs bench boss.
Campbell has looked better than Andersen during his limited starts this season, recording a 1.33 goals against and a .951 save percentage, but he has only appeared in 3 games for the Leafs thus far. Andersen's numbers have been considerably weaker with a 2.69 goals against average and a .905 save percentage, but he has taken on a much heavier workload with 16 appearances for the Leafs this season.