In a season already filled with bad news, the Toronto Maple Leafs received another helping on Friday.
Defenceman Mike Van Ryn announced that he has decided to undergo extensive knee surgery which could potentially spell the end of the 30-year old's NHL career.
Sources say Van Ryn is having an osteotomy, a procedure by which the bone is cut and the knee is realigned. That means Van Ryn is done for at least this season - the recovery time is a minimum of six months. This type of surgery is usually performed on the elderly.
Former Red Wings' great and current Team Canada executive director Steve Yzerman underwent the same surgery in 2002 and was able to return, however not at the same elite level that he was accustomed to.
Van Ryn, who is on injured reserve and has yet to play this season, missed the last 16 games of the 2008-09 season with a torn MCL in his left knee. Injuries have limited him to only 27 games for the Maple Leafs since being acquired from the Florida Panthers in exchange for Bryan McCabe and a fourth round pick in September of 2008.
The surgery is scheduled to take place on October 22.
The London, Ontario native has suffered through an injury plagued career that has seen him miss numerous games due to concussions, knee and hand injuries. When healthy, he is a solid two-way contributor from the blueline. In 353 games split between the Blues, Panthers and Leafs, Van Ryn has 30 goals and 99 assists.
He was originally a first round draft choice, 26th overall, by the New Jersey Devils in the 1998 NHL Entry draft.