RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -The Carolina Hurricanes activated defenseman Bret Hedican from injured reserve Thursday, further strengthening a defensive corps that had been depleted by injuries.
Hedican, 36, underwent surgery Jan. 5 to repair a torn ligament in his left ring finger and missed 12 games, but is eligible to play Thursday night against Tampa Bay.
Hedican, a 15-year veteran, leads Hurricanes' defensemen with an average of nearly 21 minutes a game of ice time and has eight assists in 37 games.
He's the second injured defenseman to return this week, joining Niclas Wallin, who came back Tuesday after missing three games with a lower-body injury.
At one point earlier this month, the Hurricanes had only five healthy defensemen and made a move to bolster the weakened unit by trading forward Kevyn Adams to Phoenix for defenseman Dennis Seidenberg.
Hedican's return leaves Frantisek Kaberle as the only injured defenseman. Kaberle hasn't played this season while he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery.