This has not been a great season for the San Jose Sharks. With a record of 22 wins, 26 regulation loses and four losses in extra time for 48 points, San Jose is 10 points back of the Arizona Coyotes for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The news just got worse for the Sharks on Thursday, as it was announced that center Tomas Hertl of Prague, Czech Republic would miss the rest of the 2019-20 National Hockey League regular season with not only a torn anterior cruciate ligament, but medial collateral ligament as well according to Postmedia. Hertl suffered the injuries in a 5-2 Sharks loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday when Hertl had collided with Canucks defenseman Christopher Tanev late in the first period.
The loss of Hertl for the Sharks is devastating to say the least. Just one week ago he dazzled on the ice alongside Edmonton Oilers stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl at the 2020 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis, MO. In what should have been a MVP-like performance but was not due to controversial judging, Hertl had five goals in two games. The most valuable player ridiculously went to David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins. Pastrnak received the honor even though it was Hertl and the Pacific Division that won the mini-tournament.
This season Hertl had 16 goals and 20 assists for 36 points in 48 games. He is a -18 with 16 penalty minutes, seven power play points, two shorthanded goals, one game winning goal, 117 shots on goal, 433 faceoff wins, 25 blocked shots, 29 hits, 25 takeaways and 18 giveaways.
In 2019-20, Hertl leads the Sharks in shots on goal and was tied with Evander Kane for the team lead in shorthanded goals. Hertl’s shorthanded goals this season came in a 3-1 Sharks win over the Calgary Flames on October 13 and in a 6-3 loss to the New York Rangers on December 12. Hertl’s game winning goal came in a 4-2 Sharks win over the Chicago Blackhawks on November 5.
Life without Tomas Hertl begins Saturday night when the Sharks host the Tampa Bay Lightning. Just how bad have things been for the Sharks? They have the third worst goals for and against differential this season at -38. Only the Detroit Red Wings at -92 and the New Jersey Devils at -47 are worse. Now, with the loss of Hertl, expect San Jose to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2014-15.