The Sharks' lineup still remains a bit of a mystery, as Erik Karlsson is considered day-to-day as the team embarks on a four-game road trip. The defenseman participated in part of Monday morning's team practice, but won't for sure be back in the lineup Tuesday evening when San Jose visits the Winnipeg Jets.
While the Sharks' depth on defense has been up to the task of filling the void of key players, Karlsson's blue line contributions could be extra important on this roadie, particularly against the tough squad in Winnipeg.
For starters -- as fans surely already know -- Karlsson's return could help spread out the responsibilities on San Jose's blue line. The Sharks got a boost with Marc-Edouard Vlasic back in the lineup on Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes, but the bulk of work still went to Brent Burns, who logged 29:54 minutes in that contest. In going up against a team like the Jets, who play a heavy game, having Karlsson in the lineup can help keep his teammates from getting too gassed.
It doesn't hurt that Karlsson also has played well this season against all four of the teams on this road trip. He's tallied two points (two assists) in two games against the Calgary Flames, three points (one goal, one assist) in one matchup against the Vancouver Canucks, and a whopping seven points (one goal, six assists) in three games against the Edmonton Oilers. When the Sharks and Jets last met up at SAP Center on December 20, he logged 27:54 of ice time -- more than any other skater on the team -- and helped set up Joe Pavelski's first-period power-play goal.
The Sharks are visiting the Jets for the first time this season. They have a 12-12-3 record away from the Shark Tank so far this season, and have a 5-2-1 record all-time at Bell MTS Place.