It's painful news for Matt Petgrave and the Oshawa Generals, who have seen another frontline star go down with a signficant injury.
Over the past two-plus seasons, Petgrave, a puck-moving defenceman who did wrangle an invite to a Hockey Canada summer development camp but is a NHL free agent, has become an enjoyable player to watch in the Ontario Hockey League. It's a great story, given that he was undrafted out of minor hockey before being signed by the Niagara IceDogs four years ago. However, the OHL's No. 2 scorer among defenceman (with 25 points in 23 games, he's close behind Boston Bruins uber-prospect Dougie Hamilton) has had last chance to make an impression on NHL scouts interrupted by a broken wrist. Petgrave left the Oshawa-London Knights game on Thursday — in which the Gennies lost after being up 3-0 with 15 minutes to play — and the news is, well, not good.
From Shawn Cayley:
— Shawn Cayley (@ShawnCayley) November 16, 2012
This probably hastens a move for Generals GM Jeff Twohey to get a reinforcement on defencemen, because a "play Schemitsch and Suellentrop until they drop" game plan might have a short shelf life. Oshawa has relied heavily on Petgrave, fellow overage Geoffrey Schemitsch and 19-year-old Philadelphia Flyers draft choice Colin Suellentrip, who have a vast edge in OHL experience over the other four defenders on rookie head coach D.J. Smith's roster. (Eighteen-year-olds Chris Carlisle and Josh Brown have just a combined 124 games of major junior experience while Tyler Hore and Will Petschenig are 17-year-old rookies just getting their feet wet.)
As alluded to up top, Oshawa also lost Lucas Lessio to wrist surgery recently. Standout centre Scott Laughton, a Philadelphia first-rounder, returns this weekend from his 10-game head-checking suspension, but these are not the best of times in the 'Shwa. The Generals started well against a favourably early schedule. However, they have just three wins in their past 10 games and have slipped to fifth in the OHL's Eastern Conference, even though they play in the chaise lounge that is the (L)East Division.
The upshot is Lessio and Petgrave will return eventually and it's a long season. How Oshawa endures this is more important than the issue itself, it would seem. Meantime, it's a shame to see that happen to Petgrave.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.