The Ottawa Senators got some of the worst news of the young season following Wednesday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Not only did the Senators lose the game by a 4-2 score, star defenseman Erik Karlsson had to be helped off the ice with an injury in the second period. The team now knows that his Achilles tendon was cut by a skate blade and he will require surgery, keeping him off the ice indefinitely.
The loss of Karlsson is a huge blow to a Senators team that is already without forward Jason Spezza. Karlsson is not only the team’s best defenseman, he has been one of their steadiest producers offensively as well. His six goals are the most by a defenseman in the NHL this season, and he leads the Senators in time on ice and shots.
The more than 27 minutes of ice time Karlsson sees each night is almost three minutes more than the next highest Senators players in that category (Sergei Gonchar). While the Senators had been on a roll lately, the loss to the Penguins coupled with this injury leaves them scrambling to fill some big skates, and fast.
The Senators have a lot of offensive talent playing with their AHL affiliate, the Binghamton Senators, but are a bit thin when it comes to defense. Jared Cowen, who spent all of last season in Ottawa, is probably their next best prospect but is out for the rest of the season with a hip injury. There is no timetable yet for Karlsson’s return, but it will be very hard for the Senators to find someone with the size, speed and skill the two-time All-Star brings to the table.