Erik Karlsson – San Jose Sharks
Karlsson agreed to a $92-million deal with the Sharks this offseason despite coming off groin surgery. The injury cost the defenseman 27 of the final 33 regular-season games and limited him throughout the postseason. He underwent surgery in early June.
Groin injuries are an increasingly common problem in the NHL. The uptick in frequency is unsurprising considering the force required to make sudden starts and stops in skates places a high degree of stress on and through the muscle group. A 2001 study even developed a term known as "hockey groin syndrome" to describe a specific groin injury seen in 22 NHL players over an 11-year span.
Fortunately, the success rate for surgical intervention is high with these types of injuries and Karlsson should be healthy and ready for the upcoming season. The Sharks' financial investment in the 29-year-old should serve as another strong indicator that Karlsson is ready to move past the problem.
Connor McDavid – Edmonton Oilers
The 22-year-old center has accrued a myriad of accolades in his brief four-year career including multiple Art Ross Trophies and Ted Lindsay Awards. As a result, he has become a fixture of fantasy hockey and a perennial contender for the top overall pick. However, there could be a reason for slight pause this season as McDavid continues to work his way back from a partially torn posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in his knee.
The PCL is the lesser known of the two cruciate ligaments, often