Hagelin, 34, has gone through a number of injuries over the last year and has not played yet this season. He underwent a hip procedure a few months ago, and had dealt with an eye injury that was affecting his vision.
In January, the speedy forward had been skating, and appeared to be on the road to recovery. But this latest surgery throws the rest of his career in doubt, given his age and the severity of the injury. Teammate Nicklas Backstrom underwent a similar procedure last year and has recovered well, but there are some other factors that could lead to a different outcome for Hagelin.
First and foremost, his contract with the Capitals expires at the end of the season. The four-year, $11MM deal signed in 2019 resulted in just 167 games played, as Hagelin spent more time on injured reserve than on the ice.
There’s also the question of effectiveness, even when healthy. Hagelin had scored just 17 goals in those three seasons with Washington, including three in 53 games during the 2021-22 campaign. While his speed still left him a capable penalty killer, most teams have younger options to fill that role – ones that aren’t coming off multiple hip surgeries.
Turning 35 in August, this could be the end for Hagelin in the NHL. If it is, he finishes with 713 games played, and two Stanley Cup championships. His versatility and work ethic made him a fan favorite anywhere he went, and that speed even landed him some down-ballot Selke love in his prime.