Every year, veteran players on playoff teams end up having to go under the knife at the end of the season. The Minnesota Wild are no different, as both Jared Spurgeon and Mats Zuccarello will face recovery timelines of six weeks after core muscle surgery. Michael Russo of The Athletic reports that Spurgeon has already undergone the procedure, while Zuccarello is scheduled for it. The latter also dealt with a fracture in his leg which will not require surgery.
For Spurgeon, the injury goes back to before the January 1 Winter Classic according to Russo. That means he played at least 50 games while dealing with it, including six playoff matches against the St. Louis Blues. It’s easy to understand that he was dealing with something (or perhaps several things), as the team captain’s ice time dropped dramatically in the postseason. Spurgeon averaged just over 20 minutes, and actually didn’t even reach that threshold in three of the six games. Still, he finished the regular season with a strong 40 points in 65 matches.
Zuccarello meanwhile had the best offensive season of his career, putting up 79 points in 70 games. He did have four points in six playoff games as well, but the Wild were outscored 6-5 while he was on the ice, a huge change from the regular season (Minnesota outscored their opponent 77-54 with him at even-strength) and a big reason why they were eventually eliminated.
A six-week timeline certainly isn’t the end of the world, given how far away the 2022-23 season is, but core muscle surgeries are notorious for impacting performance long after the player is cleared to hit the ice. Hopefully, for the Wild’s sake at least, both players will be at full strength when the season kicks off and ready to challenge for the playoffs once again.