Maple Leafs' Jack Campbell out at least two weeks with rib injury

Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe discusses the Jack Campbell injury, his confidence in Petr Mrazek as the number one goalie without him, and what he knows and likes about Erik Källgren, who was called up from the Marlies.

TORONTO – A “mental block” recently forced Jack Campbell to take a week from the crease. Now a physical block will remove him from action for at least two weeks.

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ No. 1 netminder’s struggles have been complicated by a rib injury, opening the door for backup Petr Mrazek to seize the crease. Something the veteran has yet to do since signing a three-year, $11.4-million contract in the summer.

“This most certainly will be an opportunity for Petr to run with it here,” coach Sheldon Keefe said. “This situation right here is the exact reason why you go out and sign a guy like Petr to partner with Jack.”

Mrazek (10-5-0, .890) will grab the starter’s net Thursday as the Leafs host the Arizona Coyotes, winners of three straight.

“He's obviously extremely skilled, and we expect him to come in and play hard for us,” Morgan Rielly said.

Erik Källgren was recalled from the AHL Marlies on an emergency basis to back up Mrazek.

Källgren, 25, has posted a 15-8-1 record with a .904 save percentage this season, his first in North America.

“A chance for us to get to know Källgren better, for sure,” Keefe said. “They really like him down with the Marlies. His play has been good, but they really like his demeanour and his work ethic.”

Keefe revealed that Campbell “tweaked something a week or so ago” and that his sore rib was re-aggravated during Tuesday’s 6-4 victory over the Seattle Kraken.

When the goalie woke up Wednesday still in pain, the Maple Leafs had him undergo tests.

Although he earned a trip to the All-Star Game through his stellar first-half performance, Campbell had been on a run of five consecutive appearances with a sub-.900 save percentage.

By leaving the net to Mrazek — who has started consecutive games just once since arriving in Toronto — for a stretch, the Maple Leafs should get a better understanding of the Czech’s readiness for a larger role.

As for Campbell, his teammates believe he’ll only come back stronger with some time to heal.

“Obviously feel for him,” Auston Matthews said. “Hope it’s nothing too long or too serious. One of the hardest-working guys I've been around, so there's no doubt in my mind that he’ll work himself back up once he’s healthy.”

One-Timers: Keefe juggled his forward lines, finally splitting John Tavares and William Nylander after a long stretch of inconsistent 5-on-5 play. Says Keefe: “We need four lines going.”… Jason Spezza will be healthy-scratched for a second straight game…. Rasmus Sandin will be scratched as well but is a smart bet to play in Sunday’s outdoor game… Jake Muzzin put in roughly an hour’s worth of on-ice conditioning Thursday morning as he recovers from a concussion…. For believers in the Revenge Game, Arizona will roll up to Scotiabank Arena in a bus loaded with ex-Leafs: Phil Kessel, Nick Ritchie, Alex Galchenyuk, Travis Boyd, Riley Nash, and Anton Stralman…. Ritchie is coming home hot, ripping a season-best two goals and three points Tuesday in Detroit. The big winger already has two multi-point efforts since being traded to the Coyotes; he never had one of those in 33 games as a Leaf.

When submitting content, please abide by our  submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.
We use cookies to improve your experience. Learn More or change your cookie preferences. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies.