Nikolai Knyzhov’s injury news has just continued to get worse, as it has been announced that he will undergo lower-body surgery, and the recovery process will be long-term.
San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner told media on Sunday morning that Knyzhov’s surgery was scheduled for Oct. 22. He said that the team tried to rehab it, rather than go through the surgery route, however, it didn’t work that way.
Boughner gave an estimate of 8-10 weeks for recovery, but said he doesn’t know the specific details of the rehab needed. He denied the possibility of it being a season-ending injury.
This leaves an interesting scenario for the Sharks. Knyzhov was expected to slot into the top-four on the left side, but without him, the options are slim. Apart from Mario Ferraro, who is practically confirmed to be glued on the first-pairing for the season with Brent Burns, the team has Jacob Middleton, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Santeri Hatakka as options on the left side.
This could become a problem for the Sharks long-term. Although we saw Middleton perform very well in the season opener, does the team trust that he can play at that level consistently? There’s also the fact that the third-pairing of Vlasic and Radim Simek was a liability. It would’ve been nice to have Knyzhov as an option to slot in if things begin to look grim on San Jose’s blue line.
Knyzhov, 23, had two goals and 10 points through 56 NHL games played last season, along with a -0.6 Wins Above Replacement.