SAN JOSE – Raffi Torres had successful surgery on a torn right ACL on Thursday morning, and will miss at least three to five months of the season.
“We want him back 100 percent. This procedure will get him 100 percent,” general manager Doug Wilson said.
Dr. Arthur Ting performed the surgery in Fremont.
The hole left by Torres is a significant one, as the forward was set to play a key role on the third line with center Joe Pavelski, giving the Sharks a balanced attack on offense.
For now, the Sharks will look to fill the void internally, according to Wilson. Forwards Freddie Hamilton and Matt Nieto remain in training camp, and Nieto impressed on the third line with Pavelski and Tommy Wingels in Tuesday’s 5-0 preseason win against Vancouver. Rookie Tomas Hertl’s roster spot is all but assured.
“Tomas Hertl has played pretty well, Matt Nieto has played pretty well, Freddie Hamilton has played pretty well,” Wilson said. “You’ve got [James Sheppard], [Andrew Desjardins], and people that would like to push up and audition for that role. I think at this point, we’d like to give our own guys that opportunity. I think they’ve earned it.”
Forward Anthony Stewart, 28, here on a tryout, could also be an option. Marty Havlat, who had offseason pelvic surgery, remains out indefinitely.
“Stewart is competing with some of the other guys. We’ve got eight or nine guys competing for four spots,” Wilson said.
One option for the Sharks could be to keep Torres out until the after the Olympic Break in February, when the NHL shuts down for two-and-a-half weeks for the games in Sochi, Russia. The Sharks have 23 games remaining in the regular season after the break, beginning in Philadelphia on Feb. 27.
Torres, 31, signed a three-year, $6 million contract extension with the Sharks this summer. His acquisition just prior to the NHL trade deadline last April helped to re-energize the Sharks' lineup, and the team missed him when he was suspended for the second round of the playoff after the first game, when he hit the Kings' Jarret Stoll with what the NHL deemed an illegal check to the head.
Torres was hurt against Anaheim, when he collided with the Ducks’ Emerson Etem. The Anaheim forward was trying to stay onside by dragging his leg at the blue line, and Torres inadvertently ran into Etem from behind, leaving both players in a heap for several moments on the ice.
Torres eventually got to his skates and left under his own power, but was later seen leaving the SAP Center after the game with a slight limp and his right knee wrapped.