The San Jose Sharks have been dealt a big blow to their blue line as Erik Karlsson will miss the rest of the season with a broken left thumb.
Karlsson suffered the injury last night in the Sharks’ 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets, in which he skated 19:26 and was a minus-one. The injury will require surgery, and with the Sharks 10 points out of the Western Conference’s second wild card position with 54 points and a 25-28-4 record, it would make no sense for the team to rush him back into action. Karlsson is expected to be fully healed in time for 2020 training camp come September.
The speedy offensive defenceman has been a stalwart on the Sharks’ back end this season, recording six goals and 34 assists while skating an average of 24:31, second only to Brent Burns.
Karlsson’s had his share of injury woes since coming over to the Sharks from the Ottawa Senators in a blockbuster trade in Sept. 2018. Last season, a recurring groin injury, which required offseason surgery, limited him to 53 games.
The 29-year-old on is in the first season of an eight-year deal worth $11.5 million annually.
Injury May Have Implications in Ottawa
Part of the package the Sharks sent to the Senators for Karlsson was a first-round draft pick in either 2019 or 2020. The conditions were if the Sharks missed the playoffs in 2018-19, the pick sent in the trade would have been their 2019 first-round pick. However, because the Sharks qualified the playoffs, Ottawa receives the Sharks’ first-rounder for the upcoming 2020 draft. It is not lottery protected.
The worse the Sharks do down the stretch without Karlsson, the more valuable the pick will be to the Senators. Combined with the fact the Sens are one of the leagues worst teams and have a good chance of winning the Draft Lottery, they could end up with two very high first-round picks in Montreal come June.