Peterborough Petes left wing Matthew Puempel, who NHL Central Scouting rated 29th on its mid-term release of North American skaters, might require season-ending hip surgery.
Peterborough General Manager Dave Reid said an MRI on Thursday revealed a chip fracture in Puempel's hip that has caused a fluid build-up. Puempel will see a specialist next week to determine the next step. If surgery is required, it could mean the end of Puempel's season. Reid stressed that there's an outside chance surgery may not be required as the hip may be best to heal on its own. Either way, Puempel will sit out a minimum two weeks.
"We are in the process of setting up an appointment with a hip specialist to evaluate Matt's injury," Reid told NHL.com. "He has undergone three different MRI's and the last MRI revealed the injury. Surgery may be required but we will not know until after the hip specialists can evaluate Matt's injury. If surgery is required, only the specialist will know the type of surgery and the length of rehab."
With the injury, the question now is will Puempel still be considered a first or second-round pick at the 2011 Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn., on June 24-25. After becoming the youngest player in the history of the Petes to score 33 goals in a season in 2009-10, Puempel has followed up with 34 goals (15 power-play goals) and 69 points in 55 games this campaign.
"At this point, a season-ending injury won't effect our opinion (of Puempel)," Central Scouting's Chris Edwards told NHL.com. "We have more than enough viewings on him. I, myself, have 14 viewings. He will be checked over at the combine by the doctors and as long as it is not career-ending, it should not make much of a difference."
Puempel said doctors informed him that surgery was imminent.
"It will be my first surgery," Puempel told the Peterborough Examiner. "It's a lot to digest in such a little amount of time. I found out at five o'clock (Thursday). I can't believe I'm done for the year. I've never had a severe injury where I've been out more than one or two games. To have something like this is real upsetting and frustrating. The timing of it, too, adds to it all. The worst part about it is you can't really do anything about it. With the playoff run here and personal goals I wanted to achieve, it's all frustrating."
Puempel, a 6-foot, 198-pound pure goal-scorer, was first injured three weeks ago. He had produced 5 goals in as many games since his return from that ailment. He sat out Peterborough's 5-2 loss to Belleville on Thursday.
"I've always been known as an offensive guy," he said. "I like that, but I also don't want to be known as a one-dimensional player. I kind of want to work on from the goal line out. I think that's what gets you to the next level. Defense first and the offense will come off of that."