The Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday announced defenseman Joni Pitkanen will sit out the 2013-14 season because of a broken left heel sustained last season.
"It's unfortunate," Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford told the Raleigh News and Observer. "Joni is a good player who was able to play a lot of minutes for us and he will be missed. We'll now have to deal with it and move forward. We'll explore all options and decide on how we'll proceed."
Pitkanen sustained the injury during a game against the Washington Capitals on April 2, when he fell into the boards trying to touch the puck on an icing play.
He had surgery to repair the break, and the original prognosis was a recovery time of 10-to-12 weeks. However, Pitkanen previously had informed the team he had sustained a setback in his rehabilitation, and while a CT scan showed the surgery had been successful, Pitkanen still wasn't healthy.
"We were taken a little by surprise, three weeks before training camp, to learn that it was not progressing better than it was," Rutherford said. "I suspect Joni was hoping it would get better and that he could begin putting more weight on it. But the stability was not there."
Pitkanen was second on the team last season with an average of 22:49 of ice time per game last season, and had nine points in 22 games. In five seasons with the Hurricanes, he had ranked first or second on the team in average ice time per game.