Winnipeg Jets’ defenceman Zach Redmond underwent surgery in Raleigh, N.C., on Thursday after being cut by a skate during a morning practice.
Redmond suffered a laceration to the femoral artery and vein in his right leg just above the knee. The operation took approximately three hours.
The 24-year-old, who was recalled to the Jets from the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps last month, was accidentally cut by a teammate’s skate during a drill at the front of the net near the end of the morning session. Most of the rest of the players and Jets staff were in the dressing room at the time, and the team’s trainers rushed to his aid as blood pooled on the ice.
Goaltender Eddie Pasquale, another recent recall from the IceCaps, said in a text message that he had never seen so much blood in his life.
"What took place is we were trying to get our extra players conditioned and there was a one-on-one battle at the net where he tripped up and landed on his back," Jets coach Claude Noel told reporters after the practice.
“The player that was tied up with him happened to step on him. It’s a fairly wide cut."
Noel said Redmond was conscious as he was treated on the ice.
"We were talking to him, the trainers were talking to him,” said the coach. “He was in some pain and probably a little bit shocked by what had taken place.
“Other than that. he was coherent going into the ambulance.”
A later statement from the Jets said Redmond was resting comfortably in hospital.
Redmond had been a healthy scratch for Winnipeg’s 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, but had nevertheless been impressive in his first NHL stint, which saw him score a goal and add three assists in eight games.
Redmond wears Kevlar-reinforced socks under those that are part of his jersey kit, but since the protective socks only come up to knees — similar to those used by soccer players — they would not have provided protection in this instance.
Redmond’s injury left the Jets with just six healthy defenceman for their Thursday-night game against the Carolina Hurricanes, won 4-3 by Winnipeg. Veteran blueliner Tobias Enstrom is expected to be out at least another two weeks with a shoulder injury.
Thursday evening, IceCaps’ head coach Keith McCambridge said he hadn’t yet heard from Winnipeg about a recall from St. John’s.
But options may be somewhat limited.
Veteran defenceman Derek Meech has missed the IceCaps’ last three games with concussion-like symptoms, although he is said to be improving and is still travelling with the team on a road trip that continues with a game Sunday in Toronto against the Marlies.
Meech and two other St. John’s rearguards — Dean Arsene and Richard Petiot — have NHL experience, but Arsene, Petiot and Travis Ramsey are all on AHL contracts.
IceCaps rookie rearguards Ben Chiarot, Julian Melchiori, Will O’Neill and Cody Sol do have NHL deals.
It all means that if Winnipeg find it necessary to add another defenceman — and Meech is not deemed good to go — the Jets may feel the need to seek reinforcement from outside the organization.