New York Rangers prospect Pavel Valentenko is expected to miss three months after undergoing shoulder surgery last week. The 22-year old defenseman, acquired this summer as part of the deal that sent Scott Gomez to Montreal, suffered the injury while playing in a preseason game for KHL team Dynamo Moscow.
“The cartilage is torn and, in addition, a piece of the collar bone is broken,” Valentenko told Sports.ru. “I won’t be able to play for three months.”
The initial injury occurred during an exhibition game in Switzerland in late August and was exacerbated upon the team’s return to Moscow. “I took a hit In Switzerland and felt pain in my shoulder,” Valentenko explained. “And then here in a game the shoulder gave out completely.”
Valentenko made headlines last fall when he was given permission by the Canadiens to leave their AHL affiliate in Hamilton, Ontario and return home to Russia to attend to a family matter. Once there, he gave in to pressure from his parents and signed a three year deal with Dynamo.
His contract in Moscow includes an out-clause allowing him to return to North America after this season, and Valentenko has expressed interest in taking advantage of it in the past.
Things haven’t gone well for Valentenko since his return to Russia. Last season, he missed six weeks with a back injury, and — once healthy — struggled to get back into the line-up amid rumors that he would leave Dynamo in the offseason due to friction with Dynamo president Michael Golovkov. Those rumors proved false, and the Nizhnekamsk native was enjoying a successful preseason for Dynamo prior to his injury.
“Everything went wonderfully in the preseason,” Valentenko shared with Sports.ru. “I played on a pairing with [Dmitry] Vorobiev. Little got past us, and then bam!”
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