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Sharks' Erik Karlsson out for Season After Suffering Thumb Injury

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2020

San Jose Sharks' Erik Karlsson, of Sweden, is seen during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the St. Louis Blues Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

The San Jose Sharks announced Saturday defenseman Erik Karlsson will miss the rest of the 2019-20 NHL season after suffering a broken left thumb in Friday's game against the Winnipeg Jets.

The Swedish rearguard is in the midst of his 11th NHL season—his second with the Sharks—and he was enjoying another productive campaign to the tune of a team-high 40 points (six goals and 34 assists) across 56 appearances.

San Jose acquired Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators in an offseason trade prior to the 2018-19 campaign that sent forwards Josh Norris, Chris Tierney and Rudolfs Balcers, defenseman Dylan DeMelo and three draft picks to Ottawa.

The Karlsson trade came after his numbers dipped a bit in his final season with the Sens. He finished with nine goals and 53 assists for 62 points in 2017-18, marking his lowest goal and point totals since 2012-13 when he appeared in just 17 games.

Karlsson was also a minus-25, which was the second-worst rating of his career.

Although injuries limited him to 53 regular-season games in 2018-19, he was productive when healthy with 45 points during the regular season and 16 points in 19 playoff games.

The All-Star blueliner is just three seasons removed from a campaign that saw him register 17 goals and 54 assists for 71 points, along with a plus-10 rating. He also added 18 points in 19 playoff games, with Ottawa falling just one win short of the Stanley Cup Final in 2016-17.

The previous season was arguably the best of his career; he posted personal bests with 66 assists and 82 points.

He is a two-time Norris Trophy winner as the NHL's best defenseman, and the 29-year-old is undoubtedly among the top players at his position. However, his injury could spell doom for a club that has disappointed thus far with a 25-28-4 record that sees them 20 points back from a wild-card spot. 

San Jose will now lean more heavily on Brent Burns to pick up the slack offensively on the back end. Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Brenden Dillon will also be tasked with taking on a greater role during the Swede's absence.

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