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Surgeries sideline Pens' Maatta, Bennett

| Thursday, May 22, 2014, 3:21 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta retrives the puck in front of the Rangers'Benoit Pouliot during the third period of Game 6 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday, May 11, 2014 in New York.

Interim general manager Jason Botterill continues to be the bearer of bad news regarding young Penguins.

Winger Beau Bennett will need four months to recover from wrist surgery that was performed Thursday at the Cleveland Clinic by Dr. Thomas Graham, an orthopedic surgeon. Bennett also had surgery on the wrist during the regular season.

Defenseman Olli Maatta will require a recovery time of four to six months after undergoing shoulder surgery.

Botterill made the announcements Thursday in news releases on the Penguins' website.

Maatta's procedure repaired a torn labrum and was performed Thursday by Dr. Mark Rodosky, an orthopedic surgeon at UPMC.

The surgery occurred a day after top prospect Derrick Pouliot, also a defenseman, underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum. Pouliot also will require a recovery time of four to six months. Dr. Dharmesh Vyas, the Penguins' lead physician and an orthopedic surgeon at UPMC, performed the surgery.

Pouliot, 20, and Maatta, 19, were the Penguins' first-round picks at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at Consol Energy Center. Pouliot was the eighth overall selection, Maatta the 22nd.

Bennett, 22, produced three goals and seven points in 21 regular-season games and a goal and five points in 12 Stanley Cup playoff games.

Maatta produced nine goals and 29 points in 78 regular-season games, spending about a month as a top-pairing defenseman because of injuries to regulars. He recorded four points in 13 playoff games.

Penguins brass view Maatta as possible top-pairing partner for Kris Letang, who is set to begin an eight-year extension worth $58 million. Team developmental personnel believe Pouliot, the Western Hockey League Defenseman of the Year this past season, could become a top-six regular next season, although he was projected to begin the campaign with AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

While Maatta and Pouliot are expected to play next season, each will lose an entire offseason of training.

The Penguins' offseason will prove no less challenging.

CEO David Morehouse is spearheading a search for a new general manager. Ray Shero was fired last Friday after eight seasons running the Penguins' hockey side.

The new general manager will decide whether to keep coach Dan Bylsma and his staff and have the opportunity to evaluate the entire hockey operations department, Morehouse said.

Botterill, who was the assistant general manager under Shero, is a candidate for the full-time post, Morehouse said.

The Penguins hope to have a new general manager hired in advance of the NHL Entry Draft, which is scheduled for June 27-28. Free agency begins July 1.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rrossi@tribweb.com or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

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