It might not be the absolute worst-case scenario, but for the Carolina Hurricanes, losing Jordan Staal for the rest of 2014 is near the top of that list.
The team announced Thursday that Staal, who has played every game for the club since his 2012 trade from the Pittsburgh Penguins, will miss the first 3-4 months of the 2014-15 season following surgery Friday to repair his broken right fibula. On that timetable, the Canes can expect him to return sometime after Christmas, and fortunately a broken bone typically has a set healing time that won't require additional time on the sidelines; once the bone is healed, which typically takes about two months, Staal will be able to resume skating.
But when he finally does return to the lineup, questions will abound. How will the team have weathered his absence? More to the point, what will the Hurricanes look like when he returns?
Good luck, Bill Peters. Your challenge just got that much more difficult.
By the way, since this matters in more ways than one now: 90 shopping days remain until Christmas.
The release from the team is below.
JORDAN STAAL TO UNDERGO SURGERY ON RIGHT LEG
Center suffered a fractured fibula during Tuesday’s game in Buffalo
RALEIGH, NC – Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced center Jordan Staal will undergo surgery on Friday to repair a fractured fibula in his right leg. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Kevin Logel and Dr. Marty Isbell at Raleigh Orthopaedic and recovery time is estimated at three to four months.
Staal, 26, was injured during the third period of Carolina’s exhibition game at Buffalo on Tuesday, when he got tangled up with Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges. The Thunder Bay, Ont., native did not miss a single game during his first two seasons with the Hurricanes in 2012-13 and 2013-14, totaling 71 points (25g, 46a) in 130 games.