The Toronto Maple Leafs could get an offensive boost in the very near future.
Forward Joffrey Lupul has been cleared for contact, just over a week after sustaining a concussion against the Philadelphia Flyers and says he's 'close' to a return.
Lupul was hurt Apr. 4 when he sustained a hit from Adam Hall in the first period of the Leafs' 5-3 loss to the Flyers. Hall caught Lupul moving forward but the hit forced Lupul's head to ricochet off Jay Rosehill's shoulder, who was delivering a simultaneous check from the back.
The 29-year-old Lupul blames neither Hall nor Rosehill for the injury resulting from the hit.
"I take responsibility for that," Lupul told reporters on Sunday. "You've got to protect yourself out there."
"I should've protected myself," he added. "Those two guys shouldn't be taking me out of the lineup."
Lupul has had a history of concussions over the course of his NHL career, with the one that has sidelined him for most of April marking his fourth in nine seasons.
When healthy, Lupul has been one of the Leafs' most productive forwards, scoring eight goals and six assists in 10 games this season.
However, Lupul has missed substantial time due to the concussion, a broken arm as well as a two-game suspension for a hit to the head of Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Victor Hedman. Lupul has a long history of injuries, having played less than 70 games in each of the last four seasons.
Lupul has excelled during his time in Toronto, scoring 42 goals and 57 assists in 104 games with the Maple Leafs. In 525 career games with Toronto, the Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers Lupul has scored 159 goals and 178 assists.