The Carolina Hurricanes captain has had surgery for a core muscle injury suffering during training, general manager Ron Francis announced on Tuesday.
“Eric notified us of the injury late last week, and flew to Raleigh [N.C.] and then Philadelphia to be evaluated,” Francis said in a statement released by the team.
“By having this procedure now, Dr. Meyers believes Eric will be able to return to action for training camp [in September] and be at full strength for the start of the regular season [on Oct. 10 versus the New York Islanders].”
A year ago, the 29-year-old centre was rehabbing a sprained right knee ligament after absorbing a knee-on-knee hit from Swedish defenceman Alex Edler of the Vancouver Canucks at the world hockey championship.
Staal, the Hurricanes’ No. 1 centre, is coming off his least productive full season since breaking into the NHL with Carolina in 2003. Still, he managed to lead the Hurricanes in assists (40) and points (61) but had a minus-13 rating.
The Thunder Bay, Ont., native holds more than 20 franchise records, collecting 289 goals and 399 assists for 688 points in 769 regular-season contests.
A four-time NHL all-star, Staal is a member of the Triple Gold Club of players who have won a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal and world championship.