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Eastern Conference

Leafs’ Auston Matthews Not Worried About Contract Situation

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Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews isn’t sweating his current contract situation as his entry-level contract expires at the end of the season, and as his representatives continue to negotiate a new, long-term contract with the team.

“I don’t know if I’ll sign a new contract before the season or not,” Matthews said Sunday (h/t NHL.com). “I’m not really involved with the talks. That’s something being dealt with by my agents and team management.

“They’ve told me that it will get done when it gets done, and that’s fine.”

Matthews is also looking forward to playing alongside John Tavares, who signed a seven-year, $77 million contract with Toronto this summer.

“I’m very excited,” Matthews said. “We’ve picked up a great player in [Tavares], and that makes us a much better team. He’s a special player and I’m looking forward to playing with him.”

“We skated a couple times in July, and then he was gone for a while, but he’s back now,” Matthews continued. “I already knew from playing against him that he’s a great skater and he’s so skilled. Everyone in the League knows what kind of player he is.

“He gives us so much depth at center. It’s going to cause a lot of matchup problems for the other teams.”

 

Eastern Conference

Devils’ Jesper Bratt Out 2-3 Weeks

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New Jersey Devils forward Jesper Bratt will be out 2-3 weeks with a broken jaw.

Bratt, 20, was injured Thursday when he was hit in the face by a puck that was shot from the point and deflected off the crossbar.

“It was just a freak accident after practice; he was in the corner and there was a shot that went to the net and it hit the crossbar and inadvertently hit him,” Devils head coach John Hynes said (h/t NHL.com). “He has a fracture and no surgery is needed, so that’s good news. He should be able to continue his physical activity over the course of that time and he’ll be back ready to go when that time comes.”

“It stinks because he’s had a great training camp,” Devils forward Travis Zajac said. “He was playing better than how he started last year, but he’ll get a chance to come back even stronger. It’s one of those things as a young guy you just have to take in stride, not let it bother you, and just make sure you’re prepared to contribute when you do come back.”

“I met up with him right away after practice Thursday, and you feel so bad for him,” New Jersey forward Marcus Johansson stated. “This is once-in-a-lifetime thing to play an NHL game in Sweden and having family and friends here. He was playing really well, too, and working hard all summer.

“It’s not a fun situation and he’s not happy right now, but he’s a young kid and he has a lot of hockey ahead of him so you don’t want to risk anything by coming back too soon.”

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Eastern Conference

Panthers’ Derek MacKenzie Retiring at End of Season

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Florida Panthers forward Derek MacKenzi will be calling it a career at the end of the 2018-2019 season, according to The Athletic’s George Richards.

MacKenzie, 37, is entering his 18th season and 5th with Florida and stated that he would like to stay involved with the organization when his retirement becomes official.

 

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Eastern Conference

Islanders Name Anders Lee Captain

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The New York Islanders have officially named Anders Lee team captain, who will don the “C” after the departure of former team captain John Tavares during free agency, per an official team announcement.

Lee, 28, is coming off a career year which saw him collect 40 goals.

Josh Bailey, Cal Clutterbuck, and Andrew Ladd will serve as the team’s alternate captains.

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