The Chicago Blackhawks will already be without the use of Patrick Kane for most of the preseason, and now Patrick Sharp’s status for the season opener is also in doubt.
Sharp underwent an emergency appendectomy on Monday and is expected to miss between three to four weeks, which makes him questionable for the season opener against the Dallas Stars on October 7.
Sharpie is coming off a career-high 71 points last season and is a valuable member of the team whether he is playing on the wing or manning the center spot on the second line.
If not for a knee injury that cost him a few weeks toward the end of the season, his numbers could have been even better.
With Sharp and Kane missing time, head coach Joel Quenneville will have a chance to put some other players around captain Jonathan Toews during the preseason.
I would expect to see a lot of Toews skating alongside Marian Hossa, which is a something the Blackhawks have tried numerous times over the past two seasons.
With Sharp's injury, some younger players, like Jeremey Morin, may also have chances to make the team, at least for the start of the season.
If Sharp is slow to recover from surgery, it may force the Hawks to go out and sign a center, especially if Marcus Kruger struggles during the preseason. Alternatively, they could use forward Michael Frolik at center.
Hopefully, this is the worst of the injuries the Hawks will suffer, and once Kaner and Sharpie return, they can focus on hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup once again.