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NHL Carolina Hurricanes

5 Injured Carolina Hurricanes And Their Projected Returns

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5 Injured Carolina Hurricanes And Their Projected Returns

injuries
Brad Penner - USA Today Sports

There is no other way to state it. The biggest issue the Carolina Hurricanes face right now is their mounting list of injured players.

Of course, there are plenty of other things for the team to work on, like their issues with the first period and the power play. These are things that can be fixed in practice. Injuries are something they just need to wait out and allow medical science to do its thing.

Not having the team at 100 percent healthy is killing the Hurricanes. They are left with a goaltending corps that was playing in the AHL two weeks ago. This forces them to face strong teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning with goaltenders that are below NHL-caliber. Trading for another goalie might be a quick fix, but it would be short-sighted. With the possibility of having both goalies back on the roster by the end of the month, there's no reason to make try for a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Simply put, Carolina would end up having to get rid of one of three very capable goaltenders, and there are a limited number of scenarios that would work there.

On top of the goaltending issues, both the defense and offense have been hit with injuries. This is tough when goals, leadership and consistency are three things the Hurricanes need desperately right now. Having a healthy depth chart will be crucial going into the Olympic Break, allowing the team to finish strong and hopefully getting them to the playoffs.

These are the five injuries the Hurricanes are waiting out, and the best predictions for their returns.

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5. Radek Dvorak

radek
James Gullory - USA Today Sports

Lower Body (Oct 25) -- Day-To-Day

The Hurricanes had Dvorak listed as "questionable" for Monday's game against Pittsburgh. Having a big body on the ice is always a great move, and with Dvorak's experience and Hockey IQ, this is a player who needs to return and soon.

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4. Brett Bellemore

brett
James Gullory - USA Today Sports

Lower Body (Oct 24) -- Injured Reserve

Bellemore was sidelined with an unspecified lower body concern. Head coach Kirk Muller had Bellemore skate in Sunday's practice, but he was still sore and left the ice after only a few minutes. There has been no specific timeline for his return, and the depth chart will benefit greatly as soon as he is healthy again.

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3. Jeff Skinner

Skins
Brace Hammelgarn - USA Today Sports

Upper Body (Oct 24) -- Day-To-Day

With Skinner, your first question is always "Is it a concussion?" and thankfully it is not. Skinner had issues with concussions last season, but this time it is an upper body concern, likely in his wrists. An MRI was performed on Sunday and the team is awaiting its results before allowing him anywhere near practice.

Skinner is perhaps the strongest skater on the team and was an offensive powerhouse before his injury. If the MRI reports his injury is merely a strain or soreness, look for a return within one to two weeks, possibly sooner.

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2. Pat Dwyer

Patty
Brad Mills - USA Today Sports

Upper Body (Oct 21) -- Day-To-Day

This is an interesting situation. Dwyer's injury happened during a flurry of injuries, but didn't really surface until practice. In the white noise that was the Hurricanes' injuries, Dwyer got lost in the shuffle.

Reports had Dwyer skating in practice Monday morning on a line with Jordan Staal and Jiri Tlusty. This is excellent news since it means he is likely to return if not against Pittsburgh, then against Tampa Bay.

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1. Cam Ward & Anton Khudobin

goalies
Geoff Burke - USA Today Sports

Khudobin: Lower Body (Oct 13) -- Injured Reserve, 1-2 weeks

Ward: Lower Body (Oct 24) -- Injured Reserve, 3-4 weeks

Perhaps the biggest blow to the Hurricanes lineup is the loss of both goaltenders.

With eerily similar injuries -- both from an awkward butterfly move -- it means Carolina will have to make do with what they can call up Charlotte Checkers from the AHL. Short of some miracle trade that brings a disposable goalie with a sub 2.50 GAA to Carolina for a draft pick or minor league prospect, this is how it's going to be and the team may as well be into it.

Khudobin skated in Sunday's practice, but was forced to leave the ice early with soreness. The big problem here is that nobody wants to rush a player back before he's ready, but the team is desperate.

Ward is a whole different problem. He was immediately announced to be out for a minimum of three weeks before the game he was injured in was even over. Don't expect him to even come close to that three-week mark. Ward will most likely remain hurt through mid-November.