Last year’s Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson is going to miss the rest of the season with a 70% lacerated achilles tendon.
The injury occurred when Karlsson went into the corner to pick up the puck and Penguins forward Matt Cooke went to pin him on the boards. In Cooke’s attempt to pin the Swedish defenceman his skate came up and sliced Karlsson’s achilles. Karlsson was visibly injured on the play and needed help to get off of the ice. There was talks about Cooke potentially being suspended, but in the end there was no supplementary discipline.
When Senators GM Bryan Murray was asked about Cooke not being suspended he said “That’s not my job. I’m outraged that we lost Erik Karlsson and I’m disappointed for him but that’s not my call.”
Karlsson underwent surgery this morning and the timetable for recovery is 3-4 months, which means that he will miss the remainder of the season. This is a huge blow for the Senators who are already without Jason Spezza (herniated disc) and now they lose arguably the best defenceman in the NHL.
This injury opens up the door for Sergei Gonchar to eat up more power-play time and young defenceman Patrick Wiercioch to see more ice time. The rest of the Senators blueline will all need to work together to replace Karlsson’s production.
Karlsson was likely the first defenceman off the board in fantasy drafts this season and this leaves a huge hole on your team if you had him. Unless it is a keeper league, Karlsson should be dropped. It will be impossible to find someone to fill the void that Karlsson’s injury leaves but here is a list of players that might be available in your league that would be a good add to try and fill those big shoes.
Francois Beauchemin – Anaheim Ducks – (56.1% Owned in ESPN Leagues)
Beauchemin has never been a superb point producer but he has shown throughout his career that he can produce and he has a great shot. His new D-partner, Sheldon Souray also has a cannon and the two of them together have been great this season as the Ducks top pair. He is averaging 23:49 a night which is more than enough opportunity for him to put up good numbers.
Fedor Tyutin – Columbus Blue Jackets - (53.7%)
Tyutin is overshadowed by Jack Johnson, James Wisniewski and Nikita Nikitin in Columbus but he has quietly had a great start to the season with 1 G and 9 A in 13 games. He is on their second D-pair and power-play and will continue to see those minutes (23:13 avg) for the remainder of the season. Only concern is +/-.
Jared Spurgeon – Minnesota Wild – (16.2%)
Spurgeon is only 23 and in his third season in the NHL. He was paired with Ryan Suter at the start of the year but just returned from injury and is on the third pair. He will move his way back up the depth chart and sees time on Minnesota’s power play. Spurgeon has been a consistent point producer at every level and should be a good addition.
Cody Franson – Toronto Maple Leafs – (13.7%)
Franson is scoring at a good pace right now (5 assists in last 4 games) and is earning more minutes as a result. Usually a 14 minute guy saw 18 and 20 in his last two games. If he keeps playing well he’ll keep getting the opportunity to produce. He isn’t lock for points, but he is hot right now. Why not take advantage of it? He is only relevant in deep leagues.
Johnathon Ericsson – Detroit Red Wings – (10.4%)
When Ericsson was playing in the AHL he was good for a point every other game. He has been in the shadows of great players for years in Detroit, now they are all gone and he is getting his chance. He isn’t a great scorer but he can chip in every now and then and will post a healthy +/-. He is only useful in deep leagues.
Zach Bogosian – Winnipeg Jets – (1.5%)
Bogosian had 5 G and 25 A in 65 games last season and is a great young defenceman coming off of an injury. He is available in most leagues and would be a great pick-up as he will likely be back on Friday. Get him now before it is too late.
There are obviously a lot of defenceman available but those are just a few that could be available in leagues that aren’t very deep and a few for leagues that are deep. It won’t be easy to continue without Karlsson but adding the right defenceman is a good first step.