The Maple Leafs expect William Nylander to miss at least three more games under COVID-19 protocols, and his absence will be felt in many ways.
Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said Friday that the 24-year-old forward continues to be monitored by medical staff under the seven-day protocol for players who have either tested positive or had contact with someone who has.
“The expectation here is that he’s going to miss a minimum of seven days … and then we’ll have to see how it goes,” Keefe said.
Teammate Mitch Marner said he’d heard tests on Nylander were negative for the virus.
“We’re all just trying to do our part,” Marner said after Friday’s practice, in preparation for a visit by the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night. “We’ve done it throughout the whole year and we’ve managed it, and we’re trying to play it smart. From what I’ve heard, the test results have all come back negative (on Nylander), which is a great sign.”
The Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on Wednesday without Nylander, who flagged a potential contact and was isolated before the game.
Knowing the second-line winger will be unavailable again on Saturday, Keefe used his first quality practice time in over a week to focus on the power play. Nylander is fourth in team scoring and a key element of both the first and second units with the man advantage, leaving a big hole to fill.