San Jose Sharks center Tomáš Hertl will undergo left knee surgery and is expected to miss a minimum of several weeks, the team announced Monday. The surgery will clean out loose cartilage in his knee.
San Jose said it doesn’t know the exact timetable of Hertl’s recovery and will provide an update on his status later.
Hertl said in a statement that he’s experienced soreness in his knee on and off this season and doctors said he could play through the pain without worsening the injury. He said he decided to have the surgery after last weekend’s All-Star Game “so that I can return to 100% as soon as possible.”
Hertl earned his second All-Star selection while leading the Sharks with 15 goals and 34 points this season.
The Sharks said they were “completely comfortable” with Hurtl’s participation in All-Star Weekend and his decision to have the surgery now.
The 30-year-old center has played his entire career with San Jose and is in the second year of an eight-year, $65.1 million contract extension he signed in March 2022. The contract has a full no-move clause through the 2024-25 season before switching to a modified one, where he annually submits three teams with which he would agree to a trade.
How Hurtl’s absence impacts the Sharks
Anytime a team loses their leading scorer, it’s going to hurt. That’s what Hertl is for the Sharks. Not only does he have the results, but he also has the best impact on his team’s shot and expected goal generation at five-on-five. San Jose is already at the bottom of the league in most offensive categories. The question is how much lower this team will sink without Hertl, and how it will affect some of his more frequent linemates.
Does a Hertl injury open the door to someone like William Eklund seeing more minutes, and can he run with the opportunity? Or will he be too exposed without someone like Hertl alongside him? Young players and their development have to be the priority in San Jose, but management has to also hope that losing Hertl doesn’t slow down players who are viewed as trade assets, either.
In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t make-or-break for the Sharks. The team is projected to finish second to last in the standings. Maybe this is what knocks them down to 32nd, and betters their chances of the number one pick in 2025. — Shayna Goldman, NHL staff writer
(Photo: Stan Szeto / USA Today)