Laich, 30, is expected to miss four to six weeks during the recovery process, which means he will be sidelined at least the rest of the regular season. Even if Washington does make the playoffs, Laich’s status would be in doubt for a first-round series.
This is the latest setback and second surgery, both of which have been performed by Michael Brunt in St. Louis, in Laich’s two-year battle with a lingering groin injury.
Laich suffered the initial injury while playing in Switzerland during the NHL lockout in the fall of 2012. He missed all but nine games last season once the NHL resumed and underwent abdominal surgery in April 2013, but problems remained.
Laich has spent much of this season experimenting with traditional and alternative therapy methods without finding a remedy, bouncing in and out of the lineup along the way. He missed 14 of 15 games from Nov. 29 to Dec. 30 because of the groin ailment and related problems. He sat out three of the last six games dating back to March 6 and visited Brunt last week before the team decided to shut him down for the rest of the season.
The veteran forward has three years remaining on his current contract with an annual salary cap hit of $4.5 million. Teams are not permitted to use compliance or standard buyouts on injured players.