Captain John Tavares of the Toronto Maple Leafs is out for three weeks due to an oblique injury.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will begin the 2022-23 season without captain John Tavares. Tavares suffered an oblique injury in the preseason and will be out for three weeks, according to head coach Sheldon Keefe.

Tavares took tests for a persistent issue, according to Keefe, and it was discovered that he had a strained oblique.

“He’s been battling with something since the other night’s game and felt it was very mild,” Keefe explained. “They had some additional examinations here after we started practicing. It’s an oblique strain, and he’ll be out for at least three weeks.”

If the current timeline maintains, Tavares will miss at least the first four games of the season. Tavares could be back in time for Toronto’s Oct. 20 home game against the Dallas Stars.

Since he joined the Maple Leafs in the summer of 2018 and was appointed captain in 2019, Tavares has played a crucial role in the group. In 79 games played the previous season, Tavares amassed 76 points and scored 27 goals.

While Tavares’ absence will be felt, according to Keefe, it does give other players a chance to get more action in the starting lineup throughout training camp.

He is obviously a vital member of our squad. Certainly, it changes the game plan, but we’ve played without people before. For the rest of camp, there will just be more chances for the men to step up and fill that void.

Although you won’t take John’s place, it does give us a chance to consider other men. It’s up to other people to step up and seize that chance.

David Kämpf or Alexander Kerfoot might be expected to fill Tavares’ position as the second-line center if he is not starting the season.