New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that goaltender Dan Blackburn will undergo nerve exploration surgery on his left shoulder on Wednesday, March 31.
The surgery will be performed by team physician Dr. Andrew Feldman, along with Dr. Lou Biglianni at Columbia University Hospital. Following the procedure, Blackburn will continue his rehabilitation program under the guidance of the team's medical and training staff.
Blackburn, 20, has been sidelined for the entire 2003-04 season as he was injured prior to the start of the Rangers 2003 training camp. He has appeared in 63 career games for the Rangers, posting a 20-32-4 record, along with a 3.22 goals against average and a .894 save percentage.
In 2001-02, his rookie campaign in the National Hockey League, he was selected to the NHL All-Rookie Team after posting a 12-16-0 mark, along with a 3.28 goals against average and a .898 save percentage in 31 games with New York. He became just the second goaltender in NHL history under the age of 19 to post a five-game winning streak, recording a 5-0-0 mark from March 30 to April 8 (Tom Barrasso - 1983-84).
Blackburn registered his first Rangers/NHL win on October 15, 2001 at Montreal, stopping 22 of 23 shots in a 2-1 victory, becoming the third youngest goaltender to ever record a NHL victory (18 years, 148 days) and the second youngest netminder in franchise history to record a NHL win (John Vanbiesbrouck, 18 years, 93 days).
The 6-0, 191-pounder made his Rangers/NHL debut on October 10, 2001 vs. Washington, becoming the fifth youngest goaltender to appear in a NHL match (18 years, 143 days) and the second youngest in franchise history (John Vanbiesbrouck, 18 years, 93 days).
Last season, the Rangers' first round pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft appeared in 32 matches, posting a record of 8-16-4, along with a 3.17 goals against average and a .890 save percentage. Blackburn posted his first career shutout on November 7, 2002 vs. Calgary, stopping all 26 shots in a 1-0 overtime victory. With the shutout, he became the youngest goaltender in franchise history to record a shutout (19 years, 171 days) and third youngest in NHL history.
The netminder also made 18 consecutive starts from November 7 to December 14, 2002 posting a 7-8-2 mark over the span, along with a 3.14 goals against average, becoming just the fourth goaltender in NHL history to make 15 or more consecutive starts as a teenager (Harry Lumley, Allan Bester and Harvey Bennett).