The San Jose Sharks have been dealt a major blow to their already dwindling playoff hopes. Promising young defenseman Mario Ferraro underwent surgery on Sunday to repair a fractured left fibula, the team announced. The timeline for recovery is six-to-eight weeks; with less than nine weeks remaining in the season and the Sharks outside the postseason picture, Ferraro will have limited if any impact over the remainder of the year.
The injury occurred on Saturday night as the Sharks faced off with the Boston Bruins. During a battle for the puck in his own end, Ferraro was the recipient of a somewhat questionable check from opposing forward Taylor Hall. Hall shoved Ferraro from behind and he slid into the end wall, with the impact causing immediate and apparent pain. Ferraro was helped off the ice – clearly injured – but a broken leg is one of the worst case scenarios for the team.
Ferraro, 23, has impressed since day one of his young NHL career, but was on pace for his best season to date. The UMass standout has been seeing increased ice time and was on pace for a career high in goals, points, hits, and takeaways, having already set a career mark in blocked shots. A budding top-pair defenseman, if not already there, Ferraro has been a critical part of San Jose’s success this season.
Even with Ferraro’s contributions thus far, the Sharks are just a .500 team. While they have remained at or above that mark all season, doing so moving forward will be a difficult task. Ferraro will join Erik Karlsson, Nikolai Knyzhov, and Jaycob Megna on the injured reserve while Nicolas Meloche also remains sidelined, leaving San Jose with a severely depleted blue line. Nine points behind the Dallas Stars for the final playoff spot in the West and with four other teams between them in the wild card race, the Sharks’ postseason hopes now look like a long shot, especially if Ferraro misses the maximum eight weeks.