Toronto Maple Leafs fans will have to wait until next season to watch Auston Matthews hit the ice again, as the American star said on Tuesday that he will not be participating in the IIHF World Championship next month.
The news doesn’t come as a big surprise, as Matthews was not expected to suit up for Team USA after a long debut season and an intense playoff series.
In addition to participating in the World Cup of Hockey in September, Matthews played all 82 regular season games of his rookie campaign, registering 40 goals and 69 points and earning himself a Calder Trophy nod as one of three finalists. The 19-year-old also scored four goals and added an assist in the Maple Leafs’ first-round series against the Capitals, which they lost in six games.
Defenceman Nikita Zaitsev, who also took part in the World Cup, will not play for Team Russia during the worlds after being assessed by the Maple Leafs’ medical staff. Zaitsev suffered a concussion in the final game of the regular season and missed Games 1 and 2 of the first round.
Goaltender Frederik Andersen got the call from Team Denmark, but has turned it down.
The 27-year-old netminder started a career-high 66 games this season—second only to Edmonton’s Cam Talbot, who started a league-high 73 games this year.
While several Leafs players won’t be making the trip to Europe, the club’s head coach will be. Mike Babcock told reporters that he’ll be there on a scouting assignment.
The tournament runs from May 5-21 in Paris and Cologne.