Senators’ centre Josh Norris done for the season after third shoulder surgery

Should be ready in time for training camp

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Josh Norris will have to hope he gets three times lucky.

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The Ottawa Senators’ top centre had a third surgery on his left shoulder last week after he re-injured himself Feb. 27 against the Nashville Predators on the road and sought a second opinion from Dr. Peter Millett, a well-regarded shoulder specialist based in Vail, Colorado.

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Interim coach Jacques Martin told reporters at the Canadian Tire Centre Monday morning that Norris, 24, should be ready in time for training camp in September, but this is a difficult blow for the organization.

“He had surgery last week. I don’t have all the details but he’ll be out for the season,” Martin said after the club’s 50-minute skate at the Bell Sensplex.

The hope is he’ll be ready for training camp in September. Normally, the recovery period from this type of procedure is four-to-six months.

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“When you look at the positive side, he should be able to have enough time to be able to start at training camp,” Martin said. “It gives him some time to rehabilitate properly for the strength and everything. So, what you’re looking at is a fresh start next year.”

Norris re-injured the shoulder after he was knocked into the post in the back of the net by Nashville’s Cole Smith. He was immediately placed on long-term injury reserve by the organization (LTIR) because the expectation was he wouldn’t play again this season, especially given his history.

Norris first had the shoulder surgically repaired after he was injured while playing for Team U.S.A. at the 2019 world junior championship. He missed the rest of that season at the University of Michigan and then started his professional career with Belleville.

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Norris was out for 16 games during the 2021-22 NHL campaign after he injured the shoulder again in January 2022 against the Carolina Hurricanes.

He missed 38 games last season after suffering a shoulder injury in early October. Instead of having surgery, Norris sought several opinions and decided to go the rehab route. He came back, but only suited up for three games before he had another injury in January 2023 and had another procedure, ending his season.

Norris was supposed to be ready for camp in September, but former general manager Pierre Dorion told reporters “he tweaked something” in an informal skate. Norris missed all of the pre-season and the first three games of the regular season.

This is a tough blow for Norris and his teammates are hoping for the best for him. They know this is as tough mentally as it is physically for Norris.

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Martin empathizes with Norris because his history with shoulder issues, but noted he has to focus on getting healthy for next season.

“You can’t do anything about the past, Martin said. “You’ve got to look at the future. I don’t know what the process was to get the shoulder repaired but there’s some thought put into it.

“I think he feels good about what’s happened to him as far as the surgery and just moving forward to make sure that he’s got the strength back.”

Norris has 16 goals and 14 assists for 30 points in 50 games this season. Though he had struggled, his game was starting to come around before he suffered this latest ailment.

Before the injury, there was a lot of speculation regarding Norris’ future with the club. He has six years left on a deal that will pay him $7.95 million U.S. per-year through the 2028-29 campaign.

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Steve Staios, the club’s president of hockey operations and general manager, tried to make changes to the roster before the NHL trade deadline Friday and there had been talk the Senators were listening to teams that were inquiring about Norris before he suffered this latest setback.

Though everybody hoped the Senators would be able to avoid a third procedure, it couldn’t be avoided.

The decision was made to seek a second opinion after the initial diagnosis by the club’s medical staff and it didn’t take long to make a decision to go ahead once Millett confirmed it was needed.

Norris isn’t the only player the Senators are missing with 20 games left in the season and the Pittsburgh Penguins in town Tuesday night.

Centre Rourke Chartier, called up from the club’s American Hockey League affiliate in Belleville last week, took a hard hit in the third period of the 2-1 loss to the Sharks Saturday in San Jose and is out a minimum of seven days an upper body injury.

Defenceman Thomas Chabot, who limped off the ice with what appeared to be a knee injury in a 4-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks last Wednesday, won’t suit up this week and hasn’t resumed skating yet.

Blueliner Travis Hamonic, who is listed as week-to-week with a lower body injury he suffered against the Predators as well, has resumed skating and was on the ice before the Senators skated Monday.

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