In a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Ryan Reaves left the game in the first period due to a lower-body injury, and did not return.
Near the halfway mark of the first period, Reaves was chasing a loose puck near the boards, but seemed to have hit a rut in the ice in the Blue Jackets’ zone. That sent the 36-year-old awkwardly into the boards, and it looked like he bent his left ankle into the kickplate. Reaves tried to skate it off the ice, but ended up needing assistance on his way down the tunnel.
Reaves is in the first of a three-year contract with the Leafs, with an AAV of $1.35 million. The grinder has been in and out of the lineup this season, scoring just one goal in 20 games. That came in Toronto’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Nov. 24.
It is too early to tell the severity of Reaves’ injury.
Reaves has been banged up throughout his career, including missing a game during the 2021-22 season with a lower-body injury.
The Winnipeg native is coming off a 15-point 2022-23 season playing with both the New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild, the third time Reaves has reached that mark in his career. He was brought in by the Leafs to bring in both veteran experience and toughness to a team that has been lacking in those areas in recent years.
Toronto (15-6-5) is trying to find a good standing in the tough Atlantic Division. They are currently third with 35 points, just one head of the Detroit Red Wings, and five back of the Boston Bruins for first place.
They will next be hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.