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Olli Maatta and Derrick Pouliot need shoulder surgery

Other than having 2 scoring champion centers, the Pittsburgh Penguins biggest strength is their stable of young defensemen. Their two best defensemen need major shoulder surgery.

Jamie Sabau

The Pittsburgh Penguins month of upheaval continues. First bounced by the New York Rangers in the second round, despite leading the series 3 games to 1. Then the changes in management with GM Ray Shero out, and coach Dan Byslma in some bizarre limbo. The next whammy? Prized young defensemen Olli Maatta and Derrick Pouliot are having shoulder surgery.

Disappointing news, to be sure. Both players' summer schedules are basically shot now, as they'll have to rehab and get ready for the season. The early end (4 months) puts them at joining the team in training camp at some point. The late end (6 months) would be in November, when the season has already begun.

Pouliot was expected to make a push for an NHL roster spot out of camp, if the Pens don't re-sign Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen, as seems likely. Now other young prospects in Brian Dumoulin and Scott Harrington probably have better chances of sticking out of camp, based on the pure numbers of not having to compete with Maatta and Pouliot.