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Brett Pesce undergoes shoulder surgery, will miss 4-6 months

The good news is that the defenseman should be back and ready to go for the start of training camp.

Jamie Kellner

Brett Pesce tried to avoid shoulder surgery, but in the end the Carolina Hurricanes defenseman opted not to prolong the inevitable and underwent surgery on his right shoulder Thursday. His estimated recovery time will be 4-6 months, putting him on schedule for a return without missing any time in training camp next season.

As we previously reported, Pesce was likely to need surgery sooner or later. The shoulder injury he suffered in Toronto on February 22 is on the same shoulder he hurt two years ago, when he opted against surgery and rehabbed his way back to health. This time, a source told Canes Country, the damage was more extensive, and surgery was an inevitability; the only question was the timing.

It was conceivable that Pesce could rehab and return to game action without surgery in 3-4 weeks, but he would have required surgical intervention following the season that would have jeopardized a full recovery in time for the start of next season. Also, the risk remained that an even more extensive injury could result if he returned to action, so while this decision definitively rules Pesce out for the rest of the season, in the long term it sets him up to come back without needing to rush to hit a deadline.

Pesce, unfortunately, is no stranger to shoulder issues. In addition to his injury two years ago, he had surgery to repair a torn labrum in 2011 when he was 17, prior to his time at the University of New Hampshire. That injury cost Pesce nearly a year of game action. It’s unclear whether the surgery in 2011 was on the same shoulder that was operated on today.

As reported by Sara Civian and Michael Smith earlier today, the Hurricanes will remain without Sami Vatanen indefinitely after the defenseman acquired from the New Jersey Devils at the trade deadline suffered a setback with his injured foot at practice today. There is no timetable for Vatanen’s return.

The release from the team regarding Pesce’s surgery is below.

Defenseman will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season

Don Waddell, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce underwent surgery on his right shoulder. His expected recovery time is four to six months.

Pesce, 25, registered 18 points (4g, 14a) in 61 NHL games with the Hurricanes this season. The 6’4”, 201-pound defenseman injured his right shoulder in the second period of Carolina’s 6-3 win at Toronto on Feb. 22. Pesce has posted 102 points (20g, 82a) in 350 career NHL games with Carolina. He tallied six assists in 15 playoff games during the Hurricanes’ run to the 2019 Eastern Conference Final. The Tarrytown, N.Y., native was drafted by Carolina in the third round, 66th overall, of the 2013 NHL Draft.