The Ottawa Senators just continue to be an organization that surprises all of us.
The fact that they’re going to be in the postseason is an accomplishment on its own. While this is a team built for the future, no one expected much this year. Especially since their roster has been decimated by injury. They’ve lost key players all over the roster, for both the short and long-term.
One player that was believed to be lost for the longer term was Erik Karlsson. The reigning Norris Trophy winner went down with an Achilles injury, courtesy of Matt Cooke back on February 13th. It was determined pretty quick that he’d likely be lost for the remainder of the regular season.
But on Friday, Karlsson was back at practice for the Senators, and it was announced that he had been cleared for contact. That return is far sooner than anyone could have expected. Regardless of how deep into the playoffs the Senators manage to make it, no one expected him to return at any point.
That’s exactly what it looks like Karlsson is going to do, though. And his return is going to be a tremendous boost to this Ottawa Senators team as they head into the playoffs. He was having a solid year, with 10 points in 14 games. Not surprising, given that he’s coming off a year in which he finished with 78 points in 81 games.
Assuming all goes well and Karlsson is ready to return in time for the postseason to begin, which is very likely, the Senators get their no. 1 defenseman back, but they also get a guy who is a terrific weapon on the power play. He had 28 points with the man advantage last year, and had three of his 10 come on the power play this year.
One hopes Karlsson isn’t rushing back from a torn Achilles, but it certainly sounds like he could be back on the ice in game action very soon for Ottawa.