Erik Karlsson missed the third period and the final seven minutes and change of the second period tonight in Columbus. After the game, fears of an aggravated groin injury were confirmed.
Pete DeBoer confirmed that Erik Karlsson retweaked his groin. No timeline on his return at this point #SJSharks— Paul Gackle (@GackleReport) February 24, 2019
At this point, it is safe to assume that San Jose will go much of its final 20-game stretch without their star back. After Karlsson injured his groin initially this season, he missed nine games. The team was able to win six — on a six-game win streak, no less — of those games. While this team is still good, however, without Erik Karlsson, they are not anywhere near the contender they are with him on the ice.
Despite a rumored slow start to the season that included Sharks coach Pete DeBoer prying Karlsson and partner Marc-Edouard Vlasic away from one another, the smooth-skating back rounded quickly into form for his new team. As of this writing, Karlsson sits atop the team in terms of his impact on expected goals and shots relative to his teammates at even strength (Evolving Hockey).
His vision and fearlessness both when making up-ice plays to teammates and when launching into neutral-zone defensive maneuvers are unequaled by most, if not all, of his peers. Beyond influencing even-strength chances and shots, Karlsson is part of the Sharks’ top power play unit (along with Kevin Labanc, Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl and Joe Pavelski) that has performed the best this season, according to Meghan Hall’s work.
We need not dwell on the impressive nature of Karlsson’s on-ice contribution; most know him to be one of the game’s best. For now, San Jose is in wait-and-see mode and hopefully will allow their superstar to get the rest and care he needs ahead of the playoffs.