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Leafs winger Johnsson requires knee surgery, out at least eight weeks

Leafs winger Johnsson requires knee surgery, out at least eight weeks
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Andreas Johnsson’s knee injury will require surgery that will sideline the Maple Leafs winger for a minimum of two months, head coach Sheldon Keefe confirmed on a conference call Friday morning.

“After time with our doctors (it was determined) he requires surgery,” Keefe said on the call, “and there will be an update after at least eight weeks.”

The 25-year-old Johnsson, who has eight goals and 21 points in 43 games this season, suffered the injury during the Leafs’ 3-2 loss to Dallas on Thursday night. It’s likely he will be placed on long-term injured reserve, which could potentially allow the Leafs to use his $3.4-million cap hit as space for the NHL’s Feb. 24 trade deadline.

Meanwhile, Keefe said defenceman Morgan Rielly — out long term with a broken bone in his foot — could start load bearing rehab next week. But Rielly, the Leafs No. 1 defenceman, is still not expected back until the end of March, Keefe said.

That leaves the Leafs without Rielly and Cody Ceci on defence, and Johnsson among their top nine forwards. It’s expected Dmytro Timashov and Frederik Gauthier will draw into the lineup more regularly with Johnsson out.

Toronto faces the Senators in Ottawa on Saturday in the first of a back-to-back that will see Jack Campbell get the start in net. The Leafs will then go with No. 1 netminder Freddie Andersen in Buffalo for Sunday’s game against the Sabres.
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