As the Capitals look to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, they will be without one of the key players that helped them win last season. Defenseman Michal Kempny underwent successful surgery to repair a torn left hamstring and is expected to miss four to six months, the team announced Tuesday.

Kempny suffered the injury on March 20 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He took issue with a hit delivered by Cedric Paquette and the two began sparring along the boards. Paquette grabbed Kempny and took him to the ice. Replay showed that Kempny fell awkwardly on top of his left leg. He had to be helped off the ice after the melee was broken up, putting no weight on his left leg.

Since then, head coach Todd Reirden had declined to give any firm timetable on when Kempny may return leading some to hope that perhaps he could be ready sometime during the postseason. Those hopes can now be officially put to rest.

A four-to-six-month timetable leaves training camp and the start of next season in doubt as six months from now will be the beginning of October when the 2019-20 season will be set to begin.

As for this season, Reirden will have to find the right combinations on defense to replace Kempny.

Prior to the injury, Kempny was playing on the top pairing with John Carlson, was averaging 19 minutes a night and was easily having the best NHL season of his career. Since then, we have seen several players cycle through to play with Carlson. It seems more likely at this point that we will see a platoon of players on the top pair rather than one set guy with Reirden replacing Carlson’s partner throughout the game depending on the game situation.