The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without top-pairing defenseman Brian Dumoulin for at least the next eight weeks after the defenseman had successful ankle surgery Sunday morning, according to Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford.
Dumoulin was injured on the first shift Saturday night after he became entangled with a forechecker behind the Penguins net in the Penguins 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues. Dumoulin’s right leg appeared to bend awkwardly. He left the game and did not return. However, now we know a skate blade on may have done the damage to his left leg.
The Penguins rearguard had surgery to repair lacerated tendons in his left ankle. The surgery was performed at UPMC Presbyterian by team physician, Dr. Dharmesh Vyas, in collaboration with Dr. MaCalus Hogan and Dr. John Fowler, of UPMC.
This is the second time this season Dumoulin will miss time. He missed 11 days in late October, as well.
Dumoulin, 28, has seven points in 23 games, including one shorthanded goal and six assists. The 6-foot-4, 207-pound defenseman has been durable during his NHL tenure. In his four previous seasons, he has played 70 or more games in each of them.
The Penguins currently have three extra defensemen and two openings. Right-side defenseman Justin Schultz remains out of the lineup. Zach Trotman and Chad Ruhwedel have platooned in his absence. Juuso Riikola is available and figures to get ice time as the only left-handed defenseman among the three. Dumoulin routinely plays the left side with Kris Letang and averages over 21 minutes per game.
The Penguins currently have only one reserve player with 12 forwards and seven healthy defensemen, without Brian Dumoulin.
Head coach Mike Sullivan admitted on Saturday that not even he has seen anything like the injury epidemic which has gripped the Penguins this season.
“No. Never this many for this long,” Sullivan said as he admitted the injury epidemic is uncharted territory. “Quite honestly, it’s a useless emotion (to be affected by it). It doesn’t serve us well.