Jonathan Gagnon has been one of the hottest players in the ECHL the past few weeks, but now the Augusta Lynx will be without their rookie forward for at least three weeks.
Gagnon suffered a broken finger in Augusta's 4-3 overtime loss on the road to South Carolina on Tuesday, the victim of a two-handed slash to the hand by a Stingrays player during the five-minute extra session.
The initial prognosis is that he will be out three to six weeks, derailing what had been Augusta's most productive line with Gagnon, Louis Goulet and Paul Vincent. The line has combined for 33 points on 13 goals and 20 assists in their past seven games.
Gagnon scored his 12th goal of the season with 12:22 left in regulation Tuesday to tie the game 3-3 and force overtime. That extended his goal-scoring streak to seven straight games, the second-longest active streak in the league and fourth-longest in the ECHL this season.
The 21-year-old forward is second on the club in goals and fourth in scoring with 21 points in 35 games.
With the Lynx fighting to gain ground and get into one of the top four playoff spots in the Central Division, the timing of the injury couldn't be worse. The sixth-place Lynx play host to fifth-place Columbus, which has won 10 of its past 12 games, tonight.
"We found a line that can contribute every night, and losing Gags, he's been good on the power play, good five-on-five, and he's scored big goals for us," Lynx coach Stan Drulia said. "It's a tough time to lose a guy who's scored seven games in a row."
Gagnon's roster spot is expected to be filled today, when the Lynx will likely pick up a defenseman in a trade with Florida.
Augusta traded forward Chris Thompson's rights to the Everblades on Wednesday for future considerations. Drulia said the trade is likely to be completed today, when the Everblades' parent club, the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes, recall one of their contracted defensemen and reassign him to the Lynx.
Florida has two defensemen under contract with Carolina - 2000 fourth-round NHL draft pick Jared Newman and 2001 ninth-round pick Peter Reynolds.
Reach Rob Mueller at (706) 823-3425.