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Karlsson of Sharks has groin surgery

Defenseman can be UFA July 1, expected to be healthy for start of next season

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Erik Karlsson had surgery May 31 to repair a groin injury, and the San Jose Sharks said the defenseman is expected to be healthy for the start of next season.

Karlsson had 16 points (two goals, 14 assists) in 19 Stanley Cup Playoff games but did not play when the Sharks were eliminated by the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final on May 21.

"I was very fortunate to be able to play pretty much all the games, except the last one, in the playoffs at a reasonable level, even for my standards. I think that's great," Karlsson said May 24. "Everybody is dealing with something. You have to play through things. I was able to do that. For that, I'm proud and grateful. It's nothing major. It's just going to take some time and figure everything out. It should be something that's easy to deal with. That's as much as I know."

Karlsson, a 29-year-old who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, missed 27 of the final 32 regular-season games for the Sharks with groin injuries but had 45 points (three goals, 42 assists) in 53 games.

"He certainly wasn't 100 percent, but he gave us all he could," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said May 24. "I think we had [Karlsson] healthy for maybe six weeks, and he showed what he was capable of. There's such a fine line between being injured and being hurt. Guys will bring whatever they can, that's the nature of hockey players. You have to protect players from themselves, and also admire their heart and commitment."

Karlsson was at Game 3 of the NBA Finals in Oakland on Wednesday between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors and was seen walking with crutches.

Tweet from @TSN_Sports: Surgery couldn���t keep @ErikKarlsson65 away from the #NBAFinals pic.twitter.com/DveurX0UyV

Karlsson was acquired on Sept. 13 with forward prospect Francis Perron in a trade with the Ottawa Senators for forwards Chris Tierney, Rudolfs Balcers and Josh Norris, defenseman Dylan DeMelo and a second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, and a conditional pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

Selected by Ottawa in the first round (No. 15) of the 2008 NHL Draft, Karlsson has 563 points (129 goals, 434 assists) in 680 regular-season games with the Sharks and Senators and has 53 points (eight goals, 45 assists) in 67 playoff games.

Karlsson has won the Norris Trophy voted as the NHL's best defenseman twice (2011-12, 2014-15) and has been named an NHL First Team All-Star four times (2011-12, 2014-17).

The Ottawa Sun reported Tuesday that Karlsson may be seeking an offer from the Senators and the Montreal Canadiens.

"I've worked hard for 10 years in this league to be in the position that I'm in. I've earned that," Karlsson said of becoming a free agent. "It's a big responsibility and decision coming up for me personally. I haven't really dealt with that (UFA) process yet. I'll do everything I can to make the best decision for myself and for the team that is going to want me."

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