The Carolina Hurricanes have officially lost defenceman Brett Pesce for the season. The 25-year-old has not played since injuring his shoulder in late February against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The team revealed he has undergone surgery to correct the damage and will be out four to six months.
Brett Pesce will miss the remainder of the season https://t.co/p15FB4TISY
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) March 5, 2020
Brett Pesce Out for Remainder of Season
The former third-round pick was having a solid 2019-20. Pesce had scored four goals and 18 points in 61 games before his injury. He was also leading the team in average time spent on the penalty kill with 3:15 per game. Pesce’s 91 blocks reflect his heavy usage with the disadvantage. His best season was last year with seven goals and 29 points in 73 games.
Pesce’s ice time was up slightly this season but his scoring was down. The lack of an increase in scoring is partially due to the team acquiring Jake Gardiner in the previous summer and its reluctance to push any one defender into a major role; no Hurricanes’ blueliner is averaging more than 23:20 this season.
What This Means for the Future
The team was active at the deadline when they acquired both Brady Skjei from the New York Rangers and Sami Vatanen from the New Jersey Devils. They had one of the deeper bluelines in the NHL, but injuries are starting to test that depth. Vatanen has also suffered a setback in his recovery from a lower-body, so Carolina’s once strong blueline is thinning. Expect minutes to increase for players like Jaccob Slavin and Skjei while the Hurricanes wait for Vatanen to return. They might also decide to recall top prospect Jake Bean from the AHL.
This injury shouldn’t derail Pesce’s career. He is still in his mid-20s with a solid track record of health; this season will be the first that Pesce fails to play in at least 65 games. He is under contract through 2023-24 with an annual cap hit of $4.02 million. A reasonable contract like that could make him an interesting trade piece this offseason. Otherwise, expect Pesce in Carolina’s lineup to start 2020-21.