Erik Karlsson fully healthy for the first time with San Jose

Nagging groin injuries and a broken thumb have kept Karlsson from being 100 percent.

If the extended break has been good for one thing, it’s that the Sharks are going to be healthy in a way they haven’t been in several seasons. Since the 2015-16 postseason, the Sharks have played 60 playoff games, with extended runs in 2016 and 2019. Add in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey and there haven’t been too many long breaks for a lot of the Sharks’ core.

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson spoke to the media this morning and confirmed that the team is feeling 100 percent.

Among the players who were nursing injuries last season were Tomas Hertl (knee), Logan Couture (concussion/ankle) and Erik Karlsson (groin/lower body). They’re all said to be ready for whenever next season should start.

It’s been a rough go of things for Karlsson since landing in San Jose. An Eastern Conference Final run in 2017 led to an ankle surgery that kept him out of the start of the 2017-18 season with the Ottawa Senators. The Sharks acquired him the following September and he battled lower body issues through the 2018-19 campaign including a near season-ending groin injury. He then suffered another groin injury during the 2019 playoffs, going into surgery that May.

According to Wilson, he just didn’t have time to recover before the 2019-20 season, and was only able to rehab the injury “to a certain point.” In February, Karlsson added a broken thumb to the list of injuries that have kept us from seeing Karlsson at his best.

Karlsson has yet to play a full season in San Jose, playing in just 53 and 56 games in each of his two seasons so far. The 30-year-old defender signed an eight-year contract extension worth $92 million with the Sharks in June 2019. It includes a no-movement clause.

It’s clear that for the Sharks to move forward and get back into the postseason, they need Karlsson to be the player that earned two Norris Trophies. It’ll be exciting to see what he can do when he’s finally healthy.