Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce will miss 2-4 weeks after surgery for a lower-body injury, the team announced Wednesday.
“Bad news there," Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind'Amour said Wednesday. "I was hoping to say he's a day or two away, but that's definitely not the case. I can't tell you more than that. I just know it's not what we had hoped."
The 28-year-old has missed Carolina’s past two games due to the injury, having last played against the Seattle Kraken on Oct. 19. Pesce was expected to be in the lineup for Carolina's following game against the Colorado Avalanche, but was a late scratch for the Hurricanes. He's recorded one goal and one assist through five contests early this season.
Pesce, widely considered to be one of the more underrated players in the league and a mainstay of the Hurricanes’ steady defense, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and likely to be one of the hottest commodities on the market. The New York native also saw his name frequently featured in the rumor mill throughout the offseason, with speculation that Carolina could look to move him given his expiring deal.
Alongside Brady Skjei, Pesce formed half of one the the NHL's most formidable pairs last season. The duo was the NHL’s third most-used defensive pairing at 5-on-5 last season and the Hurricanes controlled a 57 percent share of the expected goals when they were on the ice via Natural Stat Trick. He also played in all 82 games, recording five goals and 30 points.
Carolina was a popular pre-season Stanley Cup selection but has stumbled mightily out to a 3-4 record with injuries to Pesce and star forward Sebastian Aho. Although the Hurricanes have one of the deepest defense corps in the league, Pesce’s long-term absence will only compound the team’s erratic start to the season in the vaunted Metropolitan Division.