The Nashville Predators on Thursday announced goaltender Pekka Rinne will miss about four weeks after having arthroscopic surgery on his left hip due to an infection.
Predators general manager David Poile said Rinne had been diagnosed with a spontaneous bacterial infection in his hip, the same one he had arthroscopic surgery on in May.
"Pekka Rinne played in Minnesota [on Tuesday], was feeling great, said he's felt the best that he's felt all year, really happy with where he was," Poile said. "When he got back to Nashville he developed soreness and stiffness in his hip, had a fever. He came into practice [Wednesday] with a significant limp and was in a fair bit of pain. He was sent to Vanderbilt Hospital to see Dr. Birch who did the operation. After a series of tests, an MRI, it was determined he had a spontaneous bacterial infection."
Poile said the surgical procedure was to cleanse the infected area. The hope is the surgery, combined with antibiotics, will cure Rinne of the infection.
Rinne had surgery on his left hip in May and the infection is directly related to the surgery. However, the fact it's occurring five months after the procedure has the medical experts confused as to how it developed.
"Talking to the doctor, they have no idea how this developed five months after the fact," Poile said. "[Rinne] was healed up and had no significant pain or setbacks along the way."
Rinne is 4-4-1 with 2.31 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in nine games. He's 1-1-1 in his past three games, but has allowed one goal in each.
In Rinne's absence, Carter Hutton will start the Predators' game Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets. Hutton is 1-0-0 in two games. In his only start this season he stopped 38 of 39 shots in a 3-1 win against Winnipeg on Oct. 20.
"This always creates an opportunity for someone else … it's going to be great for Carter," Poile said. "Mitch [Korn, goaltending coach] has been doing a great job with Carter. He got his first game, first win, the other night in Winnipeg."
The Predators on Thursday also recalled goalie Magnus Hellberg from their American Hockey League team, the Milwaukee Admirals. Hellberg, 22, is 1-2-0 with a 2.23 GAA and .913 save percentage in three AHL games this season.
Poile said he's confident in Hutton, Hellberg and Marek Mazanec, the team's other goalie in Milwaukee, and said he likely will go with some combination of the three of them in Rinne's absence.
"If this all pans out, it's eight or nine games [Rinne will miss]," Poile said. "The young goalies that we have, we put a lot of time and interest in Carter. We have a lot of faith in the development of Hellberg and Mazanec. Our team is a good team. We just have a different goalie playing for us."