Jeff Angus shares his thoughts on the Karlsson injury.
Seth Jones, Nathan MacKinnon, or Jonathan Drouin? Unfortunately, after the Erik Karlsson
injury yesterday, that question will start getting asked more and more in Ottawa.
The Senators were able to weather the Jason Spezza injury (the offense struggled, but they were competitive in most of the games they played in after Spezza was placed on the injured reserve), but they won't be able to replace Erik Karlsson.
What can poolies expect from Ottawa players for the rest of the season?
Read on to find out.
The Situation: Erik Karlsson out for the season with a torn Achilles
The Fantasy Impact: Significant
Not to take away from Craig Anderson's phenomenal start to the 2013 season (seriously, his numbers are ridiculous), but Karlsson is arguably the most dynamic player in hockey at this moment. He was on pace for over 30 goals (prorated to an 82 game season, of course).
He led the Senators in shots on goal by almost 30, and he led the entire NHL in shots on goal, too (his 63 shots on goal is currently four more than Zach Parise, who is in second with 59).
Simply put, Karlsson is a fourth forward on the ice. Unlike most defenseman who have that written about them, he isn't a defensive liability. He has been playing with a more noticeable physical edge this season, and he is smart positionally and with his stick.
What To Do?
What do you now do if you own a Senators player or two? First thing would be to readjust your expectations. Karlsson and Spezza were the two offensive facilitators on this team, and without them, I'd expect Ottawa to start playing much more conservative offensively and rely on Anderson to steal them as many points as possible.
The team isn't completely devoid of talent – Kyle Turris has quietly developed into a capable top six center, and there is some talent on the wing (Daniel Alfredsson and Milan Michalek, most notably). On the back end, Sergei Gonchar can still shoot the puck. He is a liability defensively at times, and he doesn't bring Karlsson's skating to the table, but he can get it done on the power play. After him, there isn't much in the way of proven talent. But as the saying goes, with injury comes opportunity.