One of the interesting new members of the San Jose Sharks last season was Nikolai Knyzhov, who played in all 56 games and recorded ten points. The 23-year-old defenseman was set to build on that rookie campaign, but will have to wait a few months. Kevin Kurz of The Athletic reports that Knyzhov will have surgery on October 22 and faces an eight- to ten-week recovery timeline thereafter. Originally trying to rehab his lower-body injury, the decision was made that surgery is now the best option.
Just 23, Knyzhov was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2019 out of Russia. He had only really played in the MHL and VHL to that point, but the Sharks obviously saw his mix of size–6’2″ 218-lbs–and exceptional skating ability as a potential NHL combination. After one year spent mostly in the AHL, he was a regular in the lineup last season and proved he could be a key contributor to the Sharks.
Without him, the team still has plenty of options on the back end, though not many of them have the same mix of youth and potential. Brent Burns logged a game-high 27:26 for the team last night, with Radim Simek playing fewer than 12 minutes. Given how little the team has been using Marc-Edouard Vlasic, it appears as though the heavy load will fall on Burns, Mario Ferraro, and Erik Karlsson.