The San Jose Sharks have lost another defenseman to injury, as head coach Bob Boughner told reporters including Corey Masisak of The Athletic that Jaycob Megna underwent surgery to repair a displaced fracture in his foot. Megna will be out four to six weeks following the procedure.
The minor league veteran had actually taken on a ton of responsibility for the Sharks recently, playing 24:37 against the Carolina Hurricanes just before the All-Star break. That was a career-high at the NHL level, a career that includes only 62 appearances to this point. Megna, 29, has been a consistent presence in the AHL for years, stabilizing defense corps for the Norfolk Admirals, San Diego Gulls, Chicago Wolves, and San Jose Barracuda. He’s on a one-year, two-way contract this season that comes with a cap hit of just $750K.
With Erik Karlsson and Nikolai Knyzhov already on injured reserve, the Sharks’ defensive depth is certainly being tested. The team recalled Ryan Merkley from the AHL today, leaving just three other defensemen on NHL contracts in the minor leagues. Merkley is coming up with goaltender Zachary Sawchenko, who was also recalled.
There may be some good news on the horizon though. Curtis Pashelka of Mercury News tweets that Karlsson is a bit ahead of schedule for his return from forearm surgery, though it’s still unclear what exactly that means in terms of game action. When Karlsson had the procedure in late January, the team announced that he would be re-evaluated partway through March.
For Megna, this is brutal timing for a serious injury. Boughner explained that the veteran defenseman was trying to play through it and that it actually occurred when he blocked a shot against the Tampa Bay Lightning on January 22–before he logged those heavy minutes on the road trip. For a player that has ground through nearly 400 AHL games and was getting arguably the best opportunity of his career, it’s easy to understand why.