Jake Gardiner will have hip and back surgeries and the Carolina Hurricanes defenseman is not expected to play this season, general manager Don Waddell said Sunday.
Waddell mentioned Gardiner’s status when asked if the Hurricanes had enough NHL salary cap space for forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s one-year, $6.1 million contract. Kotkaniemi will sign the contract after the Montreal Canadiens decided Saturday not to match an offer sheet tendered by the Hurricanes on Aug. 28.
Waddell did not say when Gardiner’s surgeries would take place. Gardiner, who signed a four-year, $16.2 million contract ($4.05 million average annual value) with the Hurricanes on Sept. 6, 2019, will go on long-term injured reserve.
The 31-year-old had eight assists, in 26 regular-season games and did not score any points in one playoff game last season, Game 2 of the Stanley Cup First Round, a 3-0 win against the Nashville Predators on May 19.
Last season he missed five games from Feb. 25-March 6 with an upper-body injury, then missed 15 games from March 8-April 9, with a back injury. He missed 18 games from Feb. 26-April 3, 2019 with a back injury.
The No. 17 pick by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2008 NHL Draft, Gardiner has scored 277 points (49 goals, 228 assists) in 645 NHL games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Hurricanes. He has scored 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) in 33 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
The Hurricanes open their season against the New York Islanders at PNC Arena at 7 p.m. ET on Oct. 14.