RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)Carolina Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov is out for the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs because of a torn ligament in his right knee, a significant blow for a Stanley Cup contender.
The team announced Svechnikov would undergo reconstruction surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament Thursday at Raleigh Orthopaedic. He was injured Saturday night in a loss to Vegas.
The Hurricanes already said Svechnikov would be out indefinitely with the knee injury but had been hoping for a better diagnosis.
“No easy way to say it,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour told reporters earlier Tuesday before the team announced Svechnikov’s status. “Hate it for him more than anything. He’s worked so hard to get to this point of the year, when it’s fun.
“And he’s not going to be able to be a part of it here going forward. So it’s tough.”
In a statement, team president and general manager Don Waddell said the team is confident the No. 2 overall draft pick from 2018 would make a complete recovery.
Losing Svechnikov is a crushing blow to Carolina in a loaded Eastern Conference, with the Hurricanes spending much of the year second only to Boston in the overall league standings.
The 22-year-old top-line forward is tied for second on the team with 55 points and third with 23 goals. He has been a critical piece of Carolina’s four consecutive playoff berths, starting with a run to the Eastern Conference finals in Svechnikov’s rookie year.
Carolina’s playoff run has included division titles in each of the past two seasons, though a lack of scoring depth has been a factor in earlier-than-expected postseason exits the past two seasons.
They addressed that in the offseason by acquiring winger Max Pacioretty in July, but Pacioretty tore his right Achilles tendon over the summer then did it again a few games into his debut with Carolina in January. They avoided major changes to their lineup at the trade deadline earlier this month.
The Hurricanes had won 16 of 19 before being outscored 7-0 in their past two games. And entering Tuesday’s home game against Winnipeg, their once-comfortable lead atop the Metropolitan Division has been reduced to a tie in standings points (94) with the New Jersey Devils, who are only in second place because they’ve played one more game.
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap
AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports