Islanders LW Nikolay Kulemin will be out six months after undergoing a successful surgery on an undisclosed upper-body injury.
Kulemin left last Tuesday's contest against the Oilers, where the Islanders lost in overtime.
The 31-year-old is in his fourth season with the Islanders since joining the team for the 2014-2015 season. While missing only one game over his first two seasons, he was out for 10 games last season.
In 13 games this year, Kulemin has talllied one goal and two assists.
It's a bad break for Kulemin, who is in the last year of his deal and may very well have played his final game as an Islander. As for the team, they have the depth to absorb this, but it's going to test their special teams, specifically the penalty kill.
Kulemin had become a very effective PK-er, and in that regard, made the loss of Frans Nielsen a little easier to swallow last season. Without him, the Isles may need to turn back to John Tavares, who was excellent killing penalties last year, or find another option.
At some point, I would take a stab at trying Josh Ho-Sang there. Yes, he still has something to learn about defensive assignments, but the skill set would really be translate well to killing penalties. Of course, it would be learning on the job, and Doug Weight may not have the patience for that, but the Isles are going to have to get a little creative here to fill the void.