The San Jose Sharks haven’t had Erik Karlsson in the lineup for the past three games (all wins) and shouldn’t expect him back “anytime soon.” That’s what Karlsson told Kevin Kurz of The Athletic, but the star defenseman did say he would be back in time for the playoffs. Karlsson is dealing with a groin injury and hopes to get back on the ice for at least a few games before the Sharks start their first round playoff series.
When healthy, Karlsson has been an incredible performer for the Sharks, who currently sit just a point back of the Calgary Flames for first place in the Pacific Division. His 45 points ranks 12th in the NHL among defensemen despite him playing only 52 games—teammate Brent Burns leads the league with 73 points in 67 games—and he has logged an average of more than 24 minutes for the Sharks even including his last two games where he was extremely limited. There’s no doubt the Sharks are better with him in the lineup, and will hope to get him back on the ice to shake off the rust before an important playoff series starts.
Remember that Karlsson remains unsigned and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Showing he is healthy and playoff capable will go a big way to dissuade any hesitation to sign him, be it from the Sharks or another team on the open market. The last time the 28-year old was in the postseason was 2017, when he recorded 18 points in 19 games and pulled the Ottawa Senators within one goal of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.