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Maple Leafs' Tavares to miss at least 3 weeks with oblique strain

Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares will miss a minimum of three weeks due to an oblique strain, head coach Sheldon Keefe said Tuesday, according to Sportsnet's Luke Fox.

With the Leafs' campaign beginning Oct. 12 against the Montreal Canadiens, the captain is in danger of missing at least the first week of the 2022-23 season.

In his absence, Keefe said the team plans to try Alexander Kerfoot and newcomer Calle Jarnkrok at second-line center.

Tavares, 32, finished fourth on the team with 76 points (27 goals, 49 assists) in 79 games last season while averaging just over 18 minutes per contest. He added three goals and three assists in the Maple Leafs' first-round loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Mississauga, Ontario, native signed with the Maple Leafs as an unrestricted free agent in 2018. He is about to enter the fifth season of a seven-year, $77-million pact.

Since his first season in Toronto, his 274 points in 280 games are the third most on the team, behind just Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews.

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