Devastating news for Nikolai Knyzhov.
The San Jose Sharks announced today that Knyzhov recently ruptured his right Achilles tendon while practicing off the ice.
He had successful surgery on August 10 and will be out for approximately six months.
What an exciting way to start the day for Sharks fans: Knyzhov, 24, has already missed all of last season with groin injuries and an infection following surgery. And the popular defender will continue to sit until Valentine’s Day.
Knyzhov was named the San Jose Sharks Rookie of the Year in 2020-21, as the free agent out of the KHL rose from relative obscurity to earn a top-four spot alongside Erik Karlsson. Despite missing all of last year, the Sharks re-signed the lefty to a one-year, $850,000 contract, hoping he could pick up where he left off this fall.
By all accounts, his offseason training was going well: Last month, San Jose Hockey Now’s Lizz Child saw him skate with Mario Ferraro and Kevin Labanc on Sharks Ice.
SOURCE: Knyzhov “Should Be Good to Go” for the season
“It looks good there,” San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier said on Aug. 1. “I think he’ll be ready to go to camp. When he gets to camp, we’ll go from there. He hasn’t had any game action in a long time.”
At least this is a different injury than the groin injury that took out Knyzhov’s 2021-22? Hopefully, the gregarious young blueliner can make a full recovery in body and mind and return to the NHL this year.
Knyzhov Talks Recovery From Surgery, The Junk Food Diet, Learning From Karlsson | SJHN+
As for Grier and the San Jose Sharks, left-handed UFA defensive options include veterans Calvin de Haan, Danny DeKeyser, Jack Johnson, Andy Greene, Kris Russell and Ryan Murray.
Right-handers PK Subban, Anton Stralman and Michael Stone are also available.
It’s August, so the market has been picked pretty clean.
Internally, the Sharks may also look to prospects Santeri Hatakka, Ryan Merkley and Artemi Kniazev to further establish themselves as NHL players. Hatakka and Kniazev are left-handed, although Hatakka is also used to playing on the right side.
San Jose already has Mario Ferraro, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Markus Nutivaara, Jaycob Megna and Radim Simek in left, but the talented Knyzhov was one of the few higher-ceiling defensive options on the roster.
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