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Flames prospect Gillies out for season with hip injury

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames goaltending prospect Jon Gillies is expected to miss 4-6 months following hip surgery, the Flames said Thursday.

"Obviously, it's never ideal that he's going to be missing the time that he's going to be missing," Flames general manager Brad Treliving said. "For all intents and purposes, he'll miss the remainder of the season. It needs to be done. We don't anticipate any problems. The majority of his rehab will be done here in Calgary, so our people will have their hands on them and we don't expect any issues."

Gillies will have the surgery next Wednesday in Nashville.

"It’s an issue that started pretty much at the beginning of my sophomore year at college and found out what it was after my sophomore year," Gillies said. "It’s been two-plus years trying to manage this injury. I think at a point, while it’s really unfortunate and I absolutely hate leaving teammates in the middle of the season, I think my body just said it’s time to get it done."

Gillies, 21, is in his first professional season. He's 2-3-1 with a 2.31 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in seven games with Stockton of the American Hockey League. He last played Nov. 6, when he re-aggravated a nagging injury.

"You see it now with a lot of these guys, the style they play, the butterfly," Treliving said. "He had a little something going on and then about three weeks ago he did something to it. He went down. It looked like a benign play; it looked like a routine stop.

"We've been trying to give it some time to see if it cleared up and healed up and go the way of treatment. It got to the point where we don't want to get into next year and have this problem again. The determination was to go get it fixed."

Treliving said the procedure is not an uncommon one, citing Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks prospect Thatcher Demko, a teammate of Gillies for the United States at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship, as goaltenders who have undergone similar procedures.

"I know that (Philadelphia Flyers prospect) Anthony Stolarz and Thatcher Demko are two of my very best friends and they’ve both had that procedure done and they’re both doing great," Gillies said. "They said it’s nice to get better. I’m optimistic from that standpoint. I know that Dr. Byrd knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s done it a million times before. There’s no need to worry.”

A strong season could have pushed Gillies into consideration for a spot with Team North America for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. The team will need three goaltenders, but among eligible candidates, John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks, Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets and Garret Sparks of the Toronto Maple Leafs have NHL experience, and Hellebuyck and Sparks each made his NHL debut this week.

Gillies was selected in the third round (No. 75) of the 2012 NHL Draft.

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