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Islanders’ Prince needs 4-6 months to recover from surgery

Buffalo Sabres v New York Islanders

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 23: Shane Prince #11 of the New York Islanders lands on the ice during the closing seconds of the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at the Barclays Center on December 23, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Shane Prince tried to heal up his high-ankle sprain the easier way, but the New York Islanders announced that he ultimately needed surgery. With that settled, the bad news is that the team estimates his window of recovery as four-to-six months.

Hockey players have a habit of Wolverine-level healing, but if he takes that long, it would put his window between mid-December and mid-February, derailing the majority of the 2017-18 season for Prince.

The 24-year-old forward is slated to be an RFA after this season, when his $850K salary expires. This throws a wrench in both his and the Islanders’ plans, as Prince is still trying to establish himself as something more than just a depth player in the NHL.

After being traded from the Ottawa Senators (who selected him with the 61st pick of the 2011 NHL Draft), Prince made some nice early impressions with the Islanders, and also inspired cheesy references to the late pop star.

This is tough news, but perhaps Prince can come back sometime in 2017-18 close to 100 percent, and get a chance to turn things around.