Maple Leafs' Andersen 'progressing well,' will be reassessed next week

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen. (Frank Gunn/CP)

It appears the Toronto Maple Leafs will go right down to the trade deadline wire before gaining clarity on Frederik Andersen’s playing status.

The No. 1 goaltender received positive news in a follow-up appointment with doctors on Thursday, according to head coach Sheldon Keefe, but there’s still no timeline on when Andersen is expected to return from his lower-body injury.

“The feedback I’ve been given is that he is progressing well,” Keefe said after practice in Winnipeg. “I guess we’ll continue to monitor him and reassess him next week.”

Andersen hasn’t skated since allowing four goals on 18 shots during a 4-3 loss to Calgary on March 19. The veteran acknowledged that he was playing through injury at that time and took the loss in five of his seven March appearances before getting shut down.

“I’m not really where I want to be, obviously,” Andersen said the day before facing the Flames. “I think I’m working towards just getting as good as possible.”

Jack Campbell has taken the ball and run with it in Andersen’s absence, but has been managing his own lower-body issue. After being unable to play Monday, he stopped 26 shots in Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over the Jets.

With the trade deadline looming on April 12, Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas must decide whether to use any of his limited cap space to acquire more goaltending depth.

That would be easier if Andersen wasn’t expected to play before the regular season finale on May 10 because his $5-million cap charge could be placed on long-term injured reserve, allowing the Leafs to exceed the cap ceiling but he’s believed to be trending towards returning to health sooner.

It’s not imminent, however.

Andersen remained in Toronto while the team embarked on a four-game road trip that is scheduled to see them play Sunday and Monday in Calgary after Friday’s game against Winnipeg.

“He’s not going to join us on this trip,” Keefe said.

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