This nightmare Sharks season just keeps getting worse.
Superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson is out for the remainder of the season after breaking his left thumb during Friday’s 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area on Saturday morning.
The Sharks later confirmed Karlsson's status and said he will have surgery to repair his thumb in the coming days. The team also announced that defenseman Jake Middleton has been recalled from the AHL's San Jose Barracudas in a corresponding roster move.
This major blow for the Sharks comes after All-Star center Tomas Hertl recently was lost for the season to a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee. Captain Logan Couture also has been out an extended stretch with a fractured left ankle.
The playoffs are a pipe dream for the Sharks in a season that cost coach Peter DeBoer his job in December, and now is winding down. Their 54 points rank 13th in the NHL’s Western Conference with 24 games remaining.
This season’s post-Karlsson era begins with Saturday's game against the Minnesota Wild.
Karlsson’s 2019-20 campaign wraps with 40 points (six goals, 34 assists) in 56 games played. It’s also the first season played under an eight-year, $92 million contract that runs through 2026-27. The Sharks acquired Karlsson in a Sept. 13, 2018 trade with the Ottawa Senators.
This is Karlsson’s second consecutive season facing injury issues. He missed 27 of the Sharks’ final 33 regular-season games last season while recovering from groin surgery. He aggravated the injury in last year’s Western Conference finals and was unavailable for the Sharks' season-ending Game 6 loss to the St. Louis Blues.