The Predators' attempt to pass five teams for the final Western Conference playoff berth took a big hit Thursday with the team announcing the loss of three key forwards for the season -- all due to surgeries.
Center Paul Gaustad and wings Gabriel Bourque and Colin Wilson are scheduled for season-ending procedures. Gaustad and Wilson will both undergo operations to stabilize shoulders and are facing a four-month recovery period.
Wilson was Nashville’s leading scorer with 19 points in 25 games when injured on March 9 against Minnesota. Gaustad rates as one of the top faceoff men in the NHL, winning 59.7 percent of his draws, and has been used in to defend opposing scorers.
Bourque will have a torn meniscus in his knee repaired, keeping him out two to four weeks. He still ranks as the Predators' co-leader with 11 goals despite being out since April 1 with an unrelated upper-body injury.
“Everybody has injuries. We just had a lot of injuries at one position, being the forward position, which has limited us this year,” coach Barry Trotz said via The Tennessean. “We have missed some key people at important times. Everybody goes through that, but for us, it had a little more effect than we want to say.”DATER: Blackhawks top this week's NHL Power Rankings