If the Carolina Hurricanes are going to make the playoffs this season, a lot of things need to go just right for them. On Tuesday, things went very wrong when Jordan Staal suffered a broken leg in a pre-season game against the Buffalo Sabres.
Th injury occurred when he was hit by Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges in the third period of Buffalo's 2-0 win. Staal left the game and was using crutches afterwards. The team said Staal will return to Raleigh to be evaluated and no timetable for recovery has yet been determined.
Staal has largely been a durable player in his career, missing a total of 61 games, 40 of which were in 2010-11 because of an infection after a tendon injury. The Hurricanes already had depth issues to worry about and with Jordan Staal's injury, they lose an excellent puck protector, defensive player, and a guy who has some untapped offensive potential. Since coming to Carolina, he hasn't hit 20 goals and his shooting percentage has been well below his career average. With a better supporting cast, he'd easily go over 20, consistently.
We already pegged the Canes to finish eighth in the Metro Division - and now that they're down a No. 2 center (who is effectively a No. 1), that ugly conclusion seems even more likely. A weak second line just got weaker.