The San Jose Sharks placed Joe Thornton on the injured reserve list with a knee infection. An exact timetable for his return is unknown but he is expected to be sidelined for at least a week. Thornton is on antibiotics to fight the infection that caused swelling in his right knee.
Sharks’ head coach Peter DeBoer said it was “great news” that there was no structural damage to Thornton’s knee. The infection is the result of a procedure done to surgically repair Thornton’s right MCL and ACL. Thornton tore both ligaments for the second time in less than a year on January 23, 2018 and was limited to just 47 games last season. He has no goals and one assist in two games this year.
Thornton was centering the Sharks’ top line between Timo Meier and Joe Pavelski, forcing the Sharks to do some line juggling ahead of Monday afternoon’s game against the Islanders. Pavelski shifted over to the middle in Thornton’s absence and Melker Karlsson hopped up to the top line to start the game.
Despite registering just 19 points in 71 games, Karlsson was a common placeholder on the Sharks’ top line last season. He played over 169 minutes with Pavelski but the Sharks struggled when the two of them were on the ice. The pair posted a lowly 44.15 CF% and 44.10 SCF% when playing together at 5v5. Don’t be surprised to see Evander Kane move up the lineup if those struggles continue. He displayed great chemistry with Pavelski last season but was moved to the third line this year in an effort to deepen the Sharks’ attack.