Things had been going Carolina’s way lately — the ‘Canes were 6-2-0 in their last eight, and rallied to beat the Panthers on Sunday night — but that all changed on Monday, as GM Ron Francis announced Jordan Staal had suffered a concussion.
Per the Raleigh News & Observer, there is no timetable for Staal’s return.
Staal suffered the concussion early in the first period of yesterday’s game, and didn’t return. It was a big hole to fill for the ‘Canes — and it will be, for the foreseeable future.
The 28-year-old has a pretty big role in Carolina, and is the club’s top defensive center. He averages a healthy 18:29 TOI per game, and is one of the club’s best faceoff men, winning draws at a 60 percent clip.
Last year, Staal scored 20 goals for the first time since being acquired by the ‘Canes. He was off to a modest offensive start this year, with five goals and nine points through 21 contests.
The next few weeks could be crucial for the ‘Canes, as they adjust to life without No. 11 while trying to climb back into playoff positioning.
It’s expected that Teuvo Teravainen and/or Elias Lindholm will get minutes down the middle with Staal out, as could rookie Sebastian Aho. Whether or not they can fill all the holes remains to be seen — Staal featured prominently on the penalty kill, and mans the power play — but head coach Bill Peters doesn’t have a ton of options at his disposal.
Carolina did recall Phil Di Giuseppe from AHL Charlotte on Monday. He’s proven to be a fairly effective offensive producer in the past — in his rookie year, he scored seven goals and 17 points in 41 games.