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Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin out 8 weeks after ankle surgery

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The Pens suffer another injury blow that they can’t afford with the loss of key defenseman Brian Dumoulin

NHL: NOV 29 Penguins at Blue Jackets Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last night defenseman Brian Dumoulin got knocked out of the game in his very first shift, after getting his legs and skates tangled up with an opponent. Turns out the result was about a worst case scenario for Dumoulin and the Penguins.

Dumoulin is a key player for the Penguins, who plays an average of 21:04 per game (second most behind Letang), has seven points on the season and a team-high +17, reflective of the quiet, steady game Dumoulin plays that tips the ice in Pittsburgh’s favor.

Eight weeks from today would make January 26th, a key chunk of the season. And the Pens are on a bye week at that time anyways, so Dumoulin is likely out until some point in February.

It’ll be interesting to see if this pushes general manager Jim Rutherford to action. With Dumoulin joining another top-four defenseman in Justin Schultz (out an unknown time) on the shelf, Pittsburgh is pretty weak on defense, particularly on the left side now. Rutherford has indicated he didn’t want or expect to make a trade anytime soon, but these injuries may force a change of course from that plan.

Regardless of what this might mean for Pittsburgh’s future plans, the bad news is dealing with the loss of a top player for the foreseeable future. Without Dumoulin, Marcus Pettersson and Jack Johnson will be pressed into bigger roles, and both have barely been able to handle more sheltered roles that having Dumoulin in the lineup affords.

The Pens also lose their elite number one pair of Dumoulin and Kris Letang, ironically just a few days after Letang himself returned from a three week injury. And we haven’t even mentioned the long-term problems the team has had to deal with regarding Sidney Crosby (who will be out for most, if not all of December), Bryan Rust and Nick Bjugstad, to go along with some fairly significant injury time to Evgeni Malkin, Patric Hornqvist and Alex Galchenyuk too.

Oh, brother. The Pens haven’t caught a break this year — they’ve had their complete team healthy for all of two periods this season. And they won’t be having it anytime soon. The injury bug just won’t relent or offer any good news, and unfortunately that trend continued today with the announcement that Dumoulin will be out for quite a while.