Despite his long-awaited return Saturday, the San Jose Sharks remain somewhat concerned about the long-term status of star defenseman Erik Karlsson. The team gave Karlsson as much time to rest his injured groin as possible, but with the playoffs around the corner, the team hopes the injured blueliner can stay healthy throughout the playoffs, according to Mercury News’ Paul Gackle.
Karlsson, who has played in just five games since Jan. 16 before aggravating his injury, is dealing with an injury that could resurface at any time, according to Sharks’ head coach Peter DeBoer. “You don’t know,” DeBoer said. “It could be like last time where he was healthy, but he caught it awkwardly and it ended up being a different injury. You don’t know. But you get these guys to a point where you get the green light that they’re healthy and you go.”
Regardless, DeBoer adds that the team isn’t rushing Karlsson just because the playoffs are here, claiming that Karlsson is ready to return to the ice now. The 28-year-old has three goals and 45 points in 52 games this season.
- The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz reports that San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier will not play Saturday in the team’s regular season finale, but DeBoer expects him to be ready for the first game of the playoffs against the Vegas Golden Knights. Meier went down Thursday after falling awkwardly during the third period and having Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse then fall on top of him. The 22-year-old picked up a career-high 30 goals and 66 points this season.
- The Province’s Ed Willes writes that Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning has said the team wants to add a defenseman, but with little interest in paying out big bucks on the free-agent market. The scribe believes the team is thus likely to acquire one via trade, suggesting they may be looking to send off forward Jake Virtanen and defenseman Ben Hutton to upgrade the defense. The 22-year-old Virtanen continues to improve as he scored 15 goals last season, but has been somewhat underwhelming considering he was the sixth overall pick in 2014. Hutton, on the other hand, had an impressive season this year, making up for two down seasons, but his consistency is still in question.
- The Canucks will have other decisions to make as the team will have to decide on whether they want to keep forward Nikolay Goldobin going into next year as he will become a restricted free agent this summer. The 23-year-old finished the season with seven goals and 27 points in 63 games, but the team has used him sporadically in the second-half of the season. “You hope he takes the next step, he did make strides this year,” Benning said, via Sportsnet’s Rick Dhaliwal. “We will sit down with the coaching staff and decide if we want him back and continue to work with him and develop him.”