Petr Mrazek is out indefinitely for the Carolina Hurricanes after the goalie had surgery on his right thumb Wednesday.
A timeline for his return will be determined in the coming days.
“It’s one of those things where [his right thumb] has just got to heal up and then hopefully it goes well there and we get him back when we get him back,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We kind of knew from the other day it would be a long-term injury. It’s a big blow, especially this year, with the reliance on needing both goalies, for sure.”
Mrazek was injured during a collision with Hurricanes forward Max McCormick 2:47 into the first period of a 4-1 win against the Dallas Stars at PNC Arena on Saturday. James Reimer made 10 saves in relief.
Mrazek was 2-1-0 in four games this season. He leads the NHL in goals-against average (0.99), save percentage (.955) and is tied for first in shutouts (two) with four others.
“I spoke to [Mrazek] yesterday after the game,” Hurricanes forward Martin Necas said. “He said he feels pretty good. He said he can’t even move [his thumb] for a little bit. Hopefully here he’s going to be ready in a couple weeks. I don’t know how long it takes [to recover]. He said he feels good and everything went well, so we’ll see.”
Reimer (4-0-0, 2.19 GAA, .915 save percentage) has started the past two games for the Hurricanes with Alex Nedeljkovic the backup.
“I think we have a lot of confidence in [Nedeljkovic] and obviously [Reimer], we’re confident in his ability,” Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook said. “He’s made some incredible saves this year and kept us in the game, so we’re confident with both guys. Obviously, we want Petr back as quickly as we can, but want him to come back healthy and 100 percent.”
Nedeljkovic played three games with the Hurricanes last season and has played six NHL games in his career.
“As far as our confidence in [Alex], we’ve had him around for a while,” Brind’Amour said. “We have tons of confidence in him. Obviously, he doesn’t have a huge body of work in net in this league, but he’s certainly done it at the [American Hockey League] level. He’s going to get his chance and we’ll see how it works out.”
The Hurricanes next play at the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSCH, FS-CR, NHL.TV).
NHL.com independent correspondent Brandon Cain contributed to this report