Word from the Tennessean
has come this evening that Martin Gelinas has decided
to have surgery for his torn ACL this week, which ensures that he's out for the rest of the season. Many casual fans may see the 20 points in 57 games and conclude that Gelinas wasn't a major factor in the Preds lineup and this isn't really a big loss, but Gelinas' impact on and off the ice was greater than his 9 goals and 11 assists would seem to indicate.
For one, when he was on the ice, good things usually happened; at even strength
, Shots For exceeded Shots Against by about 10%, and the Goals For exceeded Goals Against by about a third of a goal per 60 minutes of play. He's been effective on the penalty kill
, and, much like Greg de Vries on defense, has filled in without a hitch in a variety of situations.
Off the ice, it's been mentioned often that Gelinas in particular has helped mentor Jordin Tootoo, and that may help explain #22's outstanding season, as he's combined his high-octane physical game with discipline (as reflected in all the penalties he's drawing
from opponents) and a greater offensive awareness. Tootoo is a much smarter hockey player this year, and Gelinas gets a good deal of credit for that by all accounts.
Assuming Gelinas' surgery and recovery goes well, it will be interesting to see whether Poile resigns the veteran forward. If Steve Sullivan returns and Nashville drafts a forward worthy of making the lineup next fall (thanks to Florida's #1 pick and dismal record, the Preds have a shot at #1 overall), things could get pretty crowded up front.
Either way, it's a shame to see Gelinas' season end so prematurely.
One last note, the Tennessean
article linked at the top also reports that Jed Ortmeyer will be determine this week whether he needs season-ending surgery as well for his torn ACL.