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An already disappointing season for the Florida Panthers took a turn for the worse Tuesday, when the team announced center Stephen Weiss will miss about three months following wrist surgery early next week.
The Panthers already have a number of key contributors from last season's division-winning squad on the injured list, including RW Kris Versteeg, defensemen Dmitry Kulikov and Mike Weaver, and goalie Jose Theodore. Not coincidentally, the Panthers have struggled out of the gate, going 6-11-5 (17 points) in the first 22 games of the lockout-shortened season, tied for last place in the Eastern Conference.
"He couldn't perform up to his capabilities, in his opinion, and he wanted to get it fixed," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon told NHL.com on Tuesday. "It was difficult for him and for all of us. Stephen cares and he feels badly about it, but he's got to do what's best for him, too. This is a big year for him as well."
Weiss has particularly struggled, logging just 1 goal and 3 assists in 17 games played. His 5.3 shooting percentage is the worst in his career, and down sharply from 13.4% in 2011-12.
Weiss has spent his entire career with the Panthers after the team took him with the fourth pick in the 2001 NHL Draft. He will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2013 season, but Tallon declined to say whether the team will try to re-sign Weiss after the season.
"We'll go into that later," he said. "Let's get him healthy first."
Tallon did not disclose how Weiss hurt his wrist, but said the surgery should take place by early next week. Weiss missed four games earlier this season due to a lower-body injury.
"If he's not able to shoot on the power play, it renders him ineffective," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen told NHL.com. "We saw a different player in the past and it obviously affected his game. It's a loss for us."