Originally written on Puck Drunk Love  |  Last updated 6/1/12

PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 2: Craig Adams #27 of the Pittsburgh Penguins defends against Marian Gaborik #10 of the New York Rangers on October 2, 2009 at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

A report from ESPN's Katie Strang indicates that New York Rangers forward Marian Gaborik will need surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder. As a result of the surgery required, Gaborik is expected to need six months to recover which should force him to miss the beginning of the 2012-13 season. 

Will Gaborik's injury force the Rangers to make a bigger play for Rick Nash over the summer now that their prized offensive weapon is on the shelf?

It's unclear when Gaborik suffered the injury but it's safe to assume it happened at some stage before or during the team's series against the New Jersey Devils. Gaborik was a shadow in the club's final series, tallying just one lone point (a goal) over the course of six games.

The report also indicates that when the team parted ways for the summer Gaborik was unwilling to discuss any potential medical procedures he might require. This might indicate he wasn't aware of the severity of his injury or it might simply be that he wanted to find out his full diagnosis first before giving the media any information. 

Looking forward, it's tough to place a date on when Gaborik will be fit enough to return to the ice. The official estimation is six months but it's certainly possible Gaborik's recovery won't take quite as long. Depending on when Gaborik goes under the knife, this places his return at some point in December, barring him healing any faster or slower. 

This comes as a massive blow to the Rangers. Granted, if this sort of procedure was going to happen now is the best time for it, it still casts a looming shadow over the start of 2012-13 when the Rangers will likely be without one of their biggest offensive weapons. The forward tallied 41 goals and 35 assists (76 points) in 2011-12. He led the Rangers in scoring with the second place finisher, Ryan Callahan, trailing by 12 goals. 

Does this put a bit more fire under the Rangers in their pursuit for Rick Nash? It seems possible. The Rangers were the closest team to landing Nash back before the 2011-12 trade deadline and now will enter 2012-13 with their best forward on the mend. The Rangers will also have to brace for the worst when Gaborik ultimately does return as he likely will take time to recapture the impressive form he had throughout 2011-12. The addition of a player like Rick Nash would help smooth things over until Gabroik is fit to return. 

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