He is second on the team in goals and leads all players with a point-per-game pace.
Now Matt Frattin is the latest member of the Toronto Maple Leafs headed to the injured reserve as they continue to lose bodies.
Frattin had major reconstruction done on his knee after he was injured in the AHL playoffs last spring when he crashed into an empty net after scoring a goal.
The knee appeared to have healed properly, but Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said Wednesday that complications have come up that required medical attention.
“Matt Frattin is having a procedure that is going to take him out of the lineup for a minimum of a week,” Carlyle said, noting that he would have the operation in the next 24 hours. “He had an issue with his MCL that was corrected [but] it’s something that has flared up.
“It’s not something that the doctors feel is a long-term thing, but [they] definitely have some concern.”
Carlyle added that the procedure was an optional one at this point, but that the organization didn’t want to take any risks that Frattin does further damage to the knee.
“If the player can’t give you 100 per cent then why would you play him?” Carlyle explained. “He’s a young player. This is a situation where he probably could play with it and we could look after it at the end of the year. But we think it’s the best thing to do is to take care of the situation as quickly as possible.
“We think he can be playing before the end of the month.”
While Frattin didn’t make the Leafs out of training camp, he had quickly become a key part of the team’s offence, scoring seven goals and adding three assists in 10 games while playing under 13 minutes a night on the third line.
His chemistry with Nazem Kadri, developed during their time with the Toronto Marlies, was a big part of their success, giving the Leafs some much needed secondary scoring during their limited ice time.
“He’s done a really good job coming in,” captain Dion Phaneuf said. “He’s been going to the net hard and scoring in tough areas. When you lose a guy like that, it’s a hole that you’ve got to fill. But when injuries happen, you’ve got to have guys step up. They’re part of the game.”
Frattin will join four other Leafs that are currently on injured reserve: James Reimer (knee), Joffrey Lupul (broken forearm), Mike Brown (shoulder) and Carl Gunnarsson (hip).
The Leafs recalled netminder Jussi Rynnas to fill in for Reimer, while Carlyle said that Brown will be available for Toronto’s game in Carolina on Thursday night.
Gunnarsson, who spent most of the last season the top defensive pairing with Phaneuf, is also expected to be back in the near future, which will leave the Leafs will a dilemma over which player to send down. Korbinian Holzer, who has been skating with Phaneuf, is the only defenceman on the team who wouldn't require waivers to go to the AHL.