The San Jose Sharks suffer a blow to their defensive depth as shining rookie blueliner Radim Simek lands on the injured reserve, giving Barracuda defenseman Jacob Middleton another well-earned call-up.
San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson announced Thursday morning that defenseman Radim Simek will undergo surgery to repair damage to his ACL and MCL in his right knee.
Simek sustained the injury in the first period of San Jose’s 5-4 thrilling victory over the Winnipeg Jets to close out their two-game road trip.
No timetable is set for Simek’s return, but typically, a severe lower-body injury indicates at least an absence of about one to two months, which would extend into this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs.
In his first year in the National Hockey League , Simek has recorded one goal and eight assists in 41 games along-side playing heavy minutes on the top line with Norris Trophy winner Brent Burns.
The sturdy, left-handed Czech defenseman joins Erik Karlsson and Evander Kane on the injured reserve, who have been out of the lineup for a couple of weeks now.
On the bright side, according to Kevin Kurz of the Athletic, Kane did take part in this morning’s practice, but will not suit up for tonight’s home game against the Florida Panthers.
With Simek’s absence, defenseman Joakim Ryan will fill his critical role on the top line along-side Burns.
Ryan returns to the lineup after missing 18 straight games and not playing since the wild 7-6 OT victory over the Washington Capitals before the All-Star Break.
In response to Simek’s move to the injured reserve, the San Jose Sharks called up San Jose Barracuda defenseman Jacob Middleton to serve as the seventh, emergency defenseman.
Middleton made his NHL debut earlier this season, turning in a pivotal performance in the Sharks 5-2 win over the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning on January 5th.
In his third season with the Barracuda, Middleton has tallied five goals and 16 points in 48 games.
With the loss of another top-four defenseman, these last dozen games of the regular season are going to test the depth and durability of the Sharks. Nevertheless they continue to fight to remain the best in the West during this Stanley Cup playoff push.