The NHL's biggest star has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews has tested positive for the coronavirus. He has reportedly gone into quarantine at his home in Arizona and is hoping to be healthy enough to take part in the team's camp starting on July 10. The NHL suspended operations in March when the pandemic began but is looking to return this summer with a 24-team playoff.
"The Toronto Maple Leafs will not be commenting on reports surrounding testing for any of the Club’s players or staff," a spokesman for the team said via the New York Post. "The league will provide updates on a regular basis with aggregate totals of the number of tests conducted and number of positive tests reported without disclosing either the identities of the affected Clubs or Players." Matthews' teammate, goaltender Frederik Anderson, reportedly spent a lot of time with Matthews in Arizona but did not test positive for COVID-19. Anderson is no longer in Arizona.
The news of Matthews contracting the coronavirus comes shortly after the Tampa Bay Lighting closing their facilities after multiple players and staff members tested positive. The facility will be close until at least July 6. NHL teams were allowed to reopen their training facilities earlier this month. The league announced 11 players have tested positive for the virus.
"All Players who have tested positive have been self-isolated and are following CDC and Health Canada protocols," the league said in a statement. "The NHL will provide a weekly update on the number of tests administered to Players and the results of those tests. The League will not be providing information on the identity of the Players or their Clubs."
Matthews, 22, was drafted No. 1 overall by the Maple Leafs in 2016. He became the first American player to earn the top pick since Patrick Kane in 2007. In his rookie season, Matthews recorded 40 goals and 29 assists, which led to him winning the Calder Memorial Trophy (NHL's Rookie of the Year award). Matthews has made the All-Star team in his first four years with the Maple Leafs. When the 2019-20 season came to an end, Matthews posted 47 goals and 33 assists. His 80 points in 70 games is a career-high.