This year has been awful for the San Jose Sharks and one of the reasons for it is injuries. This roster has been ravaged with ailments, leaving the bulk of the squad on the injured reserve. Logan Couture, Alexander Barabanov, Nico Sturm, among others have found themselves missing time this season. Now, there is a new long-term addition as the San Jose Sharks have their first confirmed season ending injury in the form of Matt Benning.
One of the few reliable defensemen the Sharks have night after night, Benning is out for the year after undergoing hip surgery. It means that the Sharks are now down another defenseman who has been good enough to be a top six defenseman in this league for many years. Nikita Okhotyuk and Henry Thrun have come in and performed admirably, as has Ty Emberson, but only Mario Ferraro, Jan Rutta, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Calen Addison have played a full season in the NHL before. Kyle Burroughs has played parts, but never a full schedule like this.
For cap implications, it means that the Sharks are likely going to operate in long-term injured reserve relief for the remainder of the season. It's not ideal because it means the organization is unable to accrue cap space to take on cap dumps at the deadline, but those just happen to be the cards that the Sharks have been dealt. Trying to get this squad to the end of the season under the cap while selling off pieces at the deadline should be okay, but it's not going to be fun.
This painful season continues to bring more suffering for the organization. Hopefully, we will get to see Benning back healthy at the start of the new season in 2024-25, but the Sharks' injury concerns continue to mount. If this is a sign of whats to come, this pain we've endured already will not get easier before the season ends. But where this means Benning's season is over, it will be an opportunity for the Sharks to give a new face a shot at the NHL.