Ottawa Senators coach D.J. Smith said Josh Norris will be out “long-term” and isn’t confident he’ll play again this season.
The team is still debating a surgery option.
After taking a faceoff, the 23-year-old left Ottawa’s game on Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes, immediately skating off to the dressing room. Norris scored earlier in the game in an eventual 6-2 victory.
Norris has a goal and an assist for Ottawa through five games this season.
Norris has dealt with left shoulder injuries a couple of times in the past. He required surgery and missed six months following the 2019 World Junior Championship. He also missed another 15 games for the same shoulder last season. Despite that, Norris still led the Senators with 35 goals in 66 games in 2021-22.
Derrick Brassard stepped into Norris’ spot with Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat earlier this week and scored against Dallas. But with Norris out long-term, the team is going to need to seek additional help, whether internally or through a trade.
Norris had been averaging 18:21 in ice time for the Senators, so that’s a tough pill to swallow. This could be an opportunity for Shane Pinto – one of the top rookies this season – to step up and play a more significant role. That’s the easiest decision if the club wants to promote from within and push Brassard back into the bottom six.
Regardless, this is a huge blow for the Senators, who many believe can make the playoffs after years of rebuilding. The team has a solid young core that has been bubbling for a few seasons, but this was supposed to be the year they started to take positive steps forward.
The Senators currently sit third in the Atlantic Division with a 4-2-0 record, winning the past four games.