San Jose Sharks’ Erik Karlsson likely out for season

SAN JOSE – Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson’s season appears to be over, bringing to an end another frustrating year for himself and the team.

Karlsson, 31, will miss his seventh straight game Tuesday when the Sharks play the Anaheim Ducks in their final game of the season at SAP Center, and coach Bob Boughner isn’t holding out much hope that the two-time Norris Trophy winner will be able to play in San Jose’s final two games later this week.

Karlsson has dealt with an unspecified lower-body injury for at least two weeks and has not played since April 14 when the Sharks lost in a shootout to the Chicago Blackhawks, a game that officially eliminated San Jose from playoff contention.

Karlsson returned to San Jose after the Chicago game for further evaluation, as he missed the final two dates of that five-game road trip.

The Sharks’ 82-game schedule wraps up with road games with the Edmonton Oilers and Seattle Kraken on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

“He’s not skating. So, that doesn’t point to a real positive sign that he’s going to be dressing for the last couple of games,” Boughner said of Karlsson on Tuesday morning, “He hasn’t been on the ice in a week.”

If Karlsson is done, he’ll have finished with 10 goals and 35 points in 50 games, an improvement over the 22 points he had in 52 games last season. The Sharks in both years dressed a handful of less-experienced players, likely affecting Karlsson’s offensive output.

Still, this marks the sixth straight year that Karlsson hasn’t been able to play a full schedule and the third straight season that the Sharks have missed the NHL playoffs. Karlsson is finishing the third year of an eight-year, $92 million deal he was given by the Sharks in June 2019.

Karlsson missed six games from Oct. 30 to Nov. 11 for COVID-19-related reasons, then missed 15 games from late January 22 to March 6, as he had surgery to repair a small tear in his left forearm.

Karlsson’s six-plus week absence earlier this year had a devastating effect on the Sharks’ offense and their playoff aspirations.

In that time, the Sharks went 3-7-5 and averaged an NHL-worst 2.00 goals per game. By the time Karlsson returned for the March 10 game in Los Angeles, the Sharks in 15 games had fallen from a .524 points percentage to .491.

The Sharks, prior to Tuesday, were 3-2-1 in their last six games, including a dramatic 5-4 shootout win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday.

San Jose erased a 4-2 Vegas lead in the final three minutes of regulation time, with Timo Meier scoring with 0.9 seconds left in the third period to send the game into overtime. In the shootout, rookie center Thomas Bordeleau was the only player for either team to score as the Sharks snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Golden Knights.

LEONARD UPDATE: Boughner said forward John Leonard, bothered by a deep bone bruise in his leg since he blocked a shot in an April 5 game with Edmonton, is also unlikely to play in either of the Sharks’ final two games. Boughner said Leonard skated Monday but was still unable to put much weight on his leg.

MEGNA’S STATUS: Sharks defenseman Jaycob Megna was happy to hear the vote of confidence that Boughner gave him after the Sharks’ victory over the Golden Knights.

Asked if the Sharks should re-sign Megna, a pending unrestricted free agent, Boughner gave a full-throated endorsement saying, “he’s come up and he looks like he’s played in this league for 10 years, and that’s not just because of tonight’s game . He has just been a rock for us back there.

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