BUFFALO (LGS) — The Buffalo Sabres announced tonight that center Paul Gaustad will be lost for the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs with a lacerated tendon in his left leg. The injury will require surgery and significant time to heal.
"It felt like I got punched in the stomach when I found out what happened," Gaustad said during the second intermission of the Sabres' 3-2 shootout victory over Calgary. "It was a freak accident. It's something I've never really dealt with in my career. It's just devastating to me."
Gaustad's foot was cut by a skate blade when he collided with Ottawa's Dany Heatley during the third period of Buffalo's 3-2 victory over the Senators on Wednesday night.
Preliminary tests were negative, and it was believed the 25-year-old would only miss a few games; however, additional tests and an MRI revealed the devastating truth.
While rehabilitation of the tendon will take a long time, doctors told Gaustad that he should be back to 100% by training camp.
"Long term, this injury is healable," Gaustad said. "It's just something that takes the tendon a long time to heal."
Gaustad is scheduled to have surgery on Tuesday. Even if the surgery goes extremely well, Sabres' doctors ruled out any chance of the Fargo, North Dakota native returning this season, even if the Sabres make a deep run in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
His presence on the ice will be sorely missed by the Sabres. Coming into tonight's game, Gaustad led all Sabres in hits with 105. In 54 games this season, "Goose" had nine goals and 13 assists for a total of 22 points. His cap hit of just $713,000 will make it next to impossible for the Sabres to find a similar replacement before the NHL trading deadline.
"You would love to be able to find another Paul Gaustad," Sabres' GM Darcy Regier said, "but the reality of it is if someone had come to us and asked if we would be willing to trade Paul Gaustad, the answer would have been "No.' So I suspect most teams, if we could find another one, would take the same position."
Should the Sabres win the Stanley Cup this season, Gaustad's 54 games would surpass the 41 regular-season game requirement needed to have his name engraved on the Cup.