WASHINGTON — It’s another major injury for Erik Karlsson.
The San Jose Sharks announced this morning that Karlsson “underwent successful surgery to repair a small muscle tear in his left forearm on Monday.”
No timetable for Karlsson’s recovery was given in the press release, but it’s “expected that he will be reevaluated in mid-March.”
This is a devastating blow for a Sharks squad that’s fighting for a wild card spot in the West. At the moment, San Jose is tied for the final playoff position with the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars.
Erik Karlsson was in the midst of a comeback campaign, leading all Sharks defensemen with eight goals. In just 33 games, the 31-year-old blueliner had accumulated 26 points.
Karlsson previously missed six games earlier this season because of COVID, two games in mid-January because of an oblique strain, and last Saturday because of this forearm injury.
For what it’s worth, the Sharks are 5-3-1 without Erik Karlsson in the line-up.
“Next man up,” Marc-Edouard Vlasic offered yesterday when asked about the potential of Karlsson missing some games.
That next man for the Sharks is most likely Ryan Merkley, their 2018 first-round pick. The offensively-gifted Merkley is a natural replacement for Karlsson on the power play, but we’ll see how the rookie handles greater defensive responsibilities.
Karlsson not only was tied with Brent Burns for most-used Sharks defenseman on the power play, he also was a penalty-killing staple, and was one of three San Jose rearguards to average over 23 minutes a night, along with Burns and Mario Ferraro.
It won’t just be Merkley, it’ll be a committee soaking up all those minutes.
Karlsson will join Sharks defensemen Nikolai Knyzhov and Jake Middleton on injured reserve. Knyzhov has yet to make an appearance this season, and Boughner’s most recent update on him was not upbeat. But Middleton, who was concussed on Jan. 4, is on the team’s current road trip and could be an option soon.
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