The Carolina Hurricanes have announced that centre Jordan Staal could miss up to four months with a fractured fibula.
Staal has been booked in for surgery on Friday after suffering the injury in the third period of his side's pre-season match at Buffalo earlier this week.
The Hurricanes posted a brief statement on their official website which read: "Center Jordan Staal will undergo surgery on Friday to repair a fractured fibula in his right leg.
"The procedure will be performed by Dr. Kevin Logel and Dr. Marty Isbell at Raleigh Orthopaedic and recovery time is estimated at three to four months."
Staal played every match in his first two seasons with Carolina and has scored 25 goals in 130 games for the franchise.
Carolina - who finished above just three sides in the NHL's Eastern Conference last season - open their 2014-15 campaign against the New York Islanders on October 10.