According to multiple reports (ESPN and CSN Bay Area), San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl will return to the ice on Friday night against the Avalanche after being medically cleared to play. CSN Bay Area says that two independent doctors have given him the ok.
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.
All indications, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, are that Hertl will play on the third line tonight against the Avalanche, presumably with James Sheppard and Tommy Wingels. Before his injury, Hertl was up on the first line with Joe Thornton and Brent Bruns, a trio that was very effective.
No one should expect for Hertl to just start playing at the torrid pace he was at in the beginning of the year, but there’s no doubt that the Sharks are a better team with their young sensation on the ice.