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Columbus Blue Jackets: Surgery Could Keep Dalton Prout Off the Ice for Start of Season
By Sam Ingro
After an unsuccessful five-game foray into the National Hockey League during the 2011-2012 season, Blue Jackets defenseman Dalton Prout was sent down to the AHL’s Springfield Falcons to work on his game. While there, he began to excel and develop into the player Columbus knew he could become. Last season, the team recalled Prout late in February.
The Jackets’ faith in Prout was quickly rewarded. In 28 games, he posted one goal, six assists and an impressive plus-15 rating. That rating was good enough to be second-best among all National Hockey League rookie defenseman, good for 25th in the league and tops on the team. Had he been able to start the season and compete at that level over the course of the year, he could very well have been a Calder Trophy candidate.
This season, the team is expecting him to be a solid member of their blue line unit, but that idea is going to have to wait a little longer. Prout underwent abdominal surgery last Thursday, and will presumably miss six weeks. After originally being told he was only experiencing a muscle strain, his doctors found a small tear that had been giving him such discomfort over the summer.
“The typical recovery time for an injury like this is six weeks, so our hope is he will be ready by the start of the regular season,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. The six weeks that Prout will miss includes the Blue Jackets’ exhibition games at least, and if all does not go perfectly, it could go into the start of the NHL season.
At just 23-years old, Prout has still yet to hit the prime years of his career. A player who doesn’t mind mixing it up, Prout does not hesitate to clear out the crease or throw blows with a bigger defender. The toughness Prout brings to the Blue Jackets is a welcome addition to a group led by Jack Johnson, James Wisniewski, Fedor Tyutin and Nikita Nikitin.
His physicality and complementary stay-at-home style allows him to be accountable in the defensive zone, and Columbus will be crossing their fingers that his return to the ice is on schedule. When he returns, he will need to get back into physical shape, as well as hockey shape. If this writer were a betting man, it is very likely that the season will start without the help of Prout on the blue line.
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