UPDATE: Hertl has been medically cleared and will be in the lineup on Friday.
After falling out of contention for the Pacific Division title with a loss in Anaheim on Wednesday night, the San Jose Sharks received some much better news on Thursday.
Good news as in very good news.
Hertl has missed the last four months recovering from PCL and MCL surgery after he banged knees with the Kings’ Dustin Brown during a game in late December. At the time, he was the runaway leading scorer among rookies, and despite missing over half the season, still has a very modest 15 goals in 35 games. Had he stayed healthy, he would have undoubtedly been among the top candidates for the Calder Trophy.
The 20-year-old rookie and first round draft pick of the Sharks in 2012 burst upon the NHL scene when he scored four goals in a game against the Rangers in November, including a between-the-legs goal that made highlight films across the nation.
His energy and addition to the lineup will be a welcome add to the Sharks, who will take on none other than the Kings in the first round. Yes, the same Kings team that knocked them out of the playoffs a year ago in seven-game thriller. Yes, the same Kings team whose captain decided it would be a great idea to take a cheap shot at Hertl that December night.
For the Sharks and their fans, there would be no better poetic justice than having Tomas Hertl return in the playoffs and score the game-winning goal to knock out the Kings.