The Everett Silvertips’ depth on the blueline took a major hit Tuesday. General manager Garry Davidson confirmed 2000-born defenseman and Montreal Canadiens prospect Gianni Fairbrother is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury.
Fairbrother is scheduled to undergo surgery Wednesday. His season is likely over.
Fairbrother’s injury didn’t occur during this weekend’s games against Seattle and Regina. It’s a problem that’s plagued him most of the season.
“I’ve known about it for some time,” Davidson said. “(Fairbrother) needed to make a decision between doing (surgery) now or putting it off. … He certainly didn’t want to quit playing, but he had to get 100 percent healthy for the future.
“He met with the doctors and his family and they said ‘Let’s get this done and get rehabbed and 100 percent.’”
Fairbrother, a North Vancouver, British Columbia, native likely played his last game in an Everett uniform on Sunday against Regina, but a return for his overage season isn’t inconceivable. While Fairbrother, a third-round pick by the Canadiens in the 2019 NHL draft, is eligible to play in the American Hockey League next season, he has a late birthday, meaning Montreal has an extra year — until June 1, 2021 — to decide whether or not to sign him to an NHL entry-level contract.
Fairbrother, a left-shot defenseman, has five goals and 24 points in 36 games this season.
“It’s a big hit,” Davidson said of the loss. “He’s a top-four (defenseman) and a hard-to-play-against guy, but he also plays a pretty complete game for us. He’s a 19-year-old veteran, solid guy. It’s a big loss. So now some younger guys will have to step up and see what they can do.”
Josh Horton covers the Silvertips for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter, @JoshHortonEDH