Marian Gaborik missed the final 28 games of the 2015-16 regular season, and he could be in line to miss 20-plus games to start the new campaign.
Gaborik, 34, suffered a foot injury during Team Europe’s semi-final victory over Team Sweden on Sunday, and TVA’s Renaud Lavoie reported that Gaborik’s injury occurred during the second period. Gaborik remained in the game, and concern about Gaborik didn’t arise until Monday afternoon when he was spotted leaving the Air Canada Center on crutches and wearing a cast on his right foot.
No immediate information was available about Gaborik’s injury, but it appears Gaborik will miss the entire World Cup final and nearly the first two months of the upcoming season. The Los Angeles Times’ Helene Elliott reported that Kings GM Dean Lombardi has said Gaborik will be out long-term, giving a rough eight-week timeline for him to return to action.
If Gaborik is out the full eight weeks, that sets his return at no sooner than the last week of November. That would mean Gaborik is on the shelf for at least the first 20 games of the Kings’ season. If he can’t return to action until December, he’d sidelined a grand total of 24 games.
Gaborik missing time is nothing new, but it’s an especially bad break for him to fall injured for such a great length of time before the regular season has even begun. Gaborik has only played one full 82-game season in his career, and that came during in 2011-12 with the New York Rangers, and seven times in his 15-year career he has played 65 or fewer games in a season due to injury.
The Kings were hoping this season could be a rebound year for Gaborik, as he took a big step back in production this past season. In the second season of his seven-year, $34.125-million deal with Los Angeles, Gaborik scored just 12 goals and 22 points in 54 games. It was his worst rate of production in any season of his career, and that was reflected in Gaborik’s minutes. Usually a top-six player, Gaborik averaged less than 15 minutes per game for the Kings and he was surpassed as part of Los Angeles’ attack by youngsters Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli.
Gaborik had a good showing at the World Cup, notching two goals in four games, and he’ll be sorely missed in the lineup against a high-powered Canadian offense.
Once he returns from injury there’s hope he can produce like the top-six forward Los Angeles needs him to be, but this certainly isn’t the way Gaborik or the Kings hoped the 2016-17 campaign would start.
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