Toronto Maple Leafs players that need to step up with Matthews injured

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 10: Auston Matthews
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 10: Auston Matthews /
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toronto maple leafs
TORONTO, ON – FEBRUARY 10: Auston Matthews /

With Auston Matthews expected to be out, the Toronto Maple Leafs will need players to step up in his absence starting against the Boston Bruins.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are about to enter a crucial stretch with their next two games against the Boston Bruins, and the Tampa Bay Lightning. While the team is capable of pulling off with the win without Auston Matthews, it will not be easy.

Granted, they have been without Matthews in stretches before but that was when the team was not chasing top spot in the Atlantic division. As of Feb. 23 they were four points behind the Lightning for top spot and one point behind the Bruins for second.

Mike Babcock made sure to shoot down any thought of the Maple Leafs changing their approach at the trade deadline. As Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported, Babcock is keeping things close to the vest on what the approach will be.

"“It’s called ‘trade’ — so it’s not like Christmas where someone drops off gifts,” said Babcock. “It isn’t like that. You’ve got to give something to get something, so if we can make a deal that’s going to help our team we’re going to make that deal. That can be short term and long term."

GM Lou Lamoriello has always preached that the team will not divert from the plan and if the deal makes sense then they will get it done. That was apparent when they made the trade for Brian Boyle.

Unlike last season, there is not a clear target out there that the team can look. Also there is optimism that Matthews’ injury is not as serious as first believed.

This is where internal solutions are something that teams like the Leafs would prefer to rely on in these situations because opposing teams will try to leverage Matthews’ injury in order to squeeze a higher return.

So here are players that the Leafs will need to step up with their top player out of the lineup.