In today’s NHL News & Notes, Gabriel Landeskog will miss four to six weeks with an injury, Mark Stone has officially signed his new contract extension with the Vegas Golden Knights and Erik Karlsson’s latest health update isn’t very encouraging for the San Jose Sharks.
Landeskog Out 4-6 Weeks
The Colorado Avalanche have been dealt a bad hand at the worst possible time of the season. The team found out Friday that they’d be without Landeskog, the team’s captain, for four to six weeks as he recovers from an upper-body injury.
This loss is a big one for the team given the fact that they’re right in the thick of things in the Western Conference Wildcard race. With a 29-27-12 record, the Avalanche have 70 points and sit four points out of a wildcard spot behind the Dallas Stars (75 points), Minnesota Wild (74 points) and Arizona Coyotes (71 points) who are all very much alive in this race.
“It’s a huge loss for our team,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “That’s the second forward we’ve lost for the remainder of the season, the regular season. Both guys are impact guys for us, [Matt] Nieto and now Landy.”
Landeskog’s teammates are fully cognizant of how important Landeskog is to the Avalanche lineup and know they’ll have to step up in his absence.
“It’s a big loss, but we can’t look back anymore,” forward Mikko Rantanen said. “It’s happened and now a lot of guys have to fill some spots and take bigger roles. There’s guys that can do that and we’re going to go with what we have. … He’s our captain, a key player and a key leader. It’s time for other guys to step up.”
The 26-year-old winger is having a career year with highs in goals (33) and points (69) in just 68 games. This is the best goal-per-game, assist-per-game and point-per-game pace that the Swedish forward has had in his career and this injury could ultimately keep him out until after the conclusion of the regular season.
Stone Officially Signs Contract Extension
It came about a week later than expected but the Golden Knights have officially extended their big trade deadline acquisition as Stone agreed to an eight-year contract worth $76 million. The deal carries an annual cap hit of $9.5 million and will include $48 million in signing bonuses alone.
The deal was originally reported within the hour of Stone being traded to the Golden Knights but the two sides couldn’t officially sign the contract until March 1. While many were curious about when the contract was actually coming given the fact that a week has passed since that date, there was obviously nothing to worry about as Stone is set to be a Golden Knight for the long-haul.
Related: Stone Traded to Golden Knights
“Can’t wait to spend the next eight years and try to build something special,” Stone said of his new contract.
Though he’s yet to record a goal and has only accounted for two assists in five games since his trade to Vegas, his play on the ice has been noticeable since his very first shift. The goals and points will come and the team is undoubtedly better with him than they were without him.
Karlsson Unlikely to Return “Anytime Soon”
The Sharks will be without Karlsson for the foreseeable future as the veteran defender recently updated the hockey world by saying he would not be returning to the Sharks’ lineup “anytime soon” as a result of his groin injury. He did, however, say that he expects to be back prior to the conclusion of the regular season.
The Sharks are one of the best teams in the NHL and barring a monumental collapse, it’s almost impossible to imagine them slipping out of postseason contention. Though Karlsson is a major part of their lineup and an integral part of their offensive, defensive and special teams gameplan, the Sharks will have to figure out how to exist without him as he aims to get healthy for the postseason.
The 28-year-old has scored three goals and 45 points in 52 games in his first season with the Sharks after being acquired from the Ottawa Senators.