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Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen likely to miss start of season for Ducks

Defensemen each sustained shoulder injury during Stanley Cup Playoffs

by Lisa Dillman @reallisa / Staff Writer

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen are likely to miss the start of next season after each sustained a shoulder injury during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, general manager Bob Murray said Thursday.

Lindholm would need 4-5 months to recover after surgery to repair a torn labrum. Vatanen, who will have surgery to repair the same injury, will need more time than Lindholm, Murray said.

"We're almost positive Hampus is having shoulder surgery," Murray said. "Sami needs surgery. He's deciding where to do it. Some can rehab these things, but we're not suggesting they do that.

"Those two guys have bad shoulders and they played through them. You've got to give them [credit]."

The Ducks' season ended Monday with a 6-3 loss to the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final.

Vatanen was injured in Game 1 of a Western Conference First Round sweep against the Calgary Flames and returned for Game 3 of the second round against the Edmonton Oilers, a series Anaheim won in seven games. 

Video: NSH@ANA, Gm1: Lindholm strikes off a faceoff

Lindholm injured his shoulder in Game 4 against the Flames but did not miss a game.

The injuries also could affect Murray's maneuvering for the NHL Expansion Draft and other offseason planning.

"Leave the group alone or do I make one or two changes?" Murray said. "That's what has to be decided. I'm nowhere near making that decision. 

"(The injuries) are making us take a step backward. But we've known this since the Calgary series. We've known this is coming. Nothing you can do about it. The longer you go, which you want to go, and they wanted to go, the farther it puts you back to start next season. We have to address some situations on defense to get us through that first two months."

Murray said he has been speaking with Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee and is hopeful the Ducks won't have to lose a key player in the expansion draft.

Anaheim can protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender, or eight skaters of any position and a goalie, with that list due June 17. Vegas' selections will be revealed June 21.

"There may be ways to do things with George … give him something he may need," Murray said. "George is a very intelligent man, and I have a pretty good idea what he is going to try to do there. I can obviously help him with that a little bit.

"There's certain players here there's just no way I can afford to lose them."

Forward Patrick Eaves, who was injured in the second round and didn't play the final 10 games of the playoffs, had a deep bone bruise, Murray said. Eaves can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

"That was what was holding us back," Murray said. "It was not the high ankle sprain. That's gone. It's a bone-on-bone bruise. He could be a while with that one. He knows that. This could be another month or month and a half. "

Forward Rickard Rakell, who missed the final two games, had an ankle sprain, and defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who was injured in Game 1 against the Oilers and missed nine games with a lower-body injury before returning in Game 4 of the conference final, said he played with a torn MCL that doesn't require surgery.

Center Nate Thompson sustained a hairline fracture in his ankle against the Flames but did not miss a game.

Center Ryan Kesler, who scored one goal in 17 playoff games, was asked if he was 100 percent.

"Was I? I didn't play like it," he said. "That's for sure. …

"I'm not a big fan of guys divulging injuries. I'm sure I'll get looked after. Hopefully I don't need to get anything done."

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