If the Carolina Hurricanes happen to make it to the playoffs, they’ll have to do it without one of their best defensemen. Brett Pesce has been ruled out for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs following shoulder surgery. His recovery timeline has been set at four to six months, though he is expected to be ready for the start of the 2020-21 season.
Pesce, 25, was arguably the Hurricanes second-most important defenseman behind Jaccob Slavin after Dougie Hamilton was also ruled out due to injury. The defensive specialist logged nearly 22 minutes a night for Carolina, anchoring the right side at both even-strength and on the penalty kill. His absence will be a huge loss for the team down the stretch, especially with the team chasing to climb back into the playoff picture.
Fortunately, the Hurricanes may have known this was a possibility at the trade deadline, given the injury happened on February 22nd. The team acquired both Brady Skjei and Sami Vatanen, though the latter has also not been cleared to play and actually suffered a setback in his own recovery today.
Pesce’s return for next season will certainly be welcomed, though there may have to be changes in Carolina over the summer. With Skjei now in town, the team has five different defensemen all set to earn at least $4MM.