Senators’ Forsberg Is the Latest Goalie with a Lower-Body Injury

On Saturday night (February 11), the Ottawa Senators lost another goalie when Anton Forsberg fell down with an injury in a 6-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. In one of the rarest injuries an athlete can sustain, he tore the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in both knees and is expected to be out for two to three months. Oddly enough, MCL strains and tears are most common in football, basketball, and skiing, and are assessed based on the severity of the injury.

See also: 4 takeaways from the Senators’ 6-3 loss to the Oilers

The fans in attendance and viewers at home could see that Forsberg was feeling significantly uneasy. Also, in another rare moment, the coaches had to remove his goalie pads, which signaled the seriousness of the situation. Unfortunately, the injury comes at a bad time for the Senators with Cam Talbot absent, their other starter who is currently suffering from a groin injury.

According to various medical bodies, the average time required for rehab after an MCL tear ranges from a few weeks to six or more, depending on the severity of the injury. Considering Forsberg has two injuries, he will require eight to 12 weeks of convalescence, which is above average based on previous cases that don’t require surgery.

Investigating the next 6 weeks in the nation’s capital

The Senators currently have a 25-24-3 record for 53 points, good enough for seventh place in the Atlantic Division. Now they are eight points behind the Washington Capitals (62 points) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (61) for a playoff wildcard spot, meaning the team faces an uphill battle to qualify for the postseason. Considering they’re now without their two first-choice goalies and need to overtake five other teams to get over the cutoff line, maybe it’s time to start thinking about the future.

Anton Forsberg Ottawa Senators
Anton Forsberg, Ottawa Senators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

It seems Forsberg will miss the rest of the regular season and knowing that should ease the pressure for a quick rehab. Even if the Senators qualify for the playoffs, he should be shut down for the rest of the season as he has a contract until 2025 and should be focused on next season. Realistically, there are six months until training camp opens in September, which is enough time to heal and build strength for a return on opening night.

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Additionally, this latest injury complicates the franchise’s current goalkeeping situation. However, you should not put additional pressure on the recovery. Additionally, according to NHL trade deadline rumors, a handful of teams across the league could be interested in Talbot to shore up their backend for a long playoff run. Now that Forsberg has sustained a serious injury, the Senators face a tough decision. Consequently, they must figure out if Talbot is their man for a playoff push or if they turn him on deadline and look to the future.

Also see: 3 potential landing spots for Cam Talbot from Ottawa Senators

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Forsberg hasn’t been as strong this season, posting an 11-11-2 record with a lofty 3.26 goals-against-average (GAA) and .902 saving percentage (SV%), reflecting the Senators’ efforts to advance in the rating emphasizes. Last year, the 30-year-old posted the best numbers of his eight-year NHL career with a team that finished 33-42-7, a 22-17-4 with 2.82 GAA and .917 SV%.

For now, Senators have recalled Mads Sogaard from the Belleville Senators, who has appeared in three NHL games in his career. So far, 2022-23, the Aalborg, Denmark native is 6-9-2 with 3.30 GAA and 0.898 SV% in the American Hockey League (AHL).

Importance of MCL goalie injuries in the NHL

As mentioned, MCL injuries are more common in other sports, but a long list of goalies have endured the same pain Forsberg is in today. One of the most recent headline cases involving an NHL player with an MCL injury was Zach Hyman in April 2021, who sustained an MCL sprain after suffering a knee-to-knee strike. Luckily, he missed just a few weeks with a sprain to his surgically repaired right knee. Interestingly, he’s back in the MCL talk as the opponent who was at the top of Forsberg at the time of his injury.

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Additionally, several top-flight goalkeepers such as Martin Brodeur, Miikka Kiprusoff and Cory Schneider have suffered various MCL injuries and missed time to recover. On average, most of these players were out of action for a month or more, with Brodeur missing two different stints in 2006 and 2011 with the same injury. Interestingly, two goalies, Mike Smith and Cam Ward, struggled on their returns, posting losing records and alarming stats.

Historically, Forsberg has had just one successful season on his resume. Additionally, if there are significant setbacks during his recovery or upon his return, he risks falling into the same pattern as many before him. Granted, none of the goalies in this discussion have ripped both MCLs, so Forsberg is in a category all of his own.

Forsberg joins a long list of NHL goalies currently injured

There’s never an argument when people talk about the physical and mental toll of being an NHL goaltender. Although the guys behind the mask don’t play as many minutes as they did decades ago, the game is faster, forcing today’s elite guards to be on top form.

There are only 64 goaltender opportunities in the NHL, with 23 percent currently on injured reserve due to various ailments. Conversely, each team has a different injury reporting policy, so technically only four are listed with knee injuries, while three others have lower-body injuries. Ultimately, 11 goalies are struggling with injuries below the waist, underscoring the impact of the game on these players’ bodies.

Cam Talbot Ottawa Senators
Cam Talbot, Ottawa Senators (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Here’s a breakdown of the current goalies missing from the field thanks to updates provided by

  • Anaheim Ducks’ Anthony Stolarz (lower body)
  • Buffalo Sabers’ Ben Bishop (knee)
  • Chicago Blackhawks’ Alex Stalock (concussion)
  • Montreal Canadiens Carey Price (knee)
  • New Jersey Devils’ Jonathan Bernier (hip)
  • Senators Talbot (lower body) and Forsberg (knee)
  • Tristian Jarry of the Pittsburgh Penguins (torso)
  • Kaapo Kahkonen (Head) and James Reimer (Sickness) of San Jose Sharks
  • Seattle Kraken Chris Driedger (knee)
  • Toronto Maple Leafs’ Matt Murray (ankle)
  • Thatcher Demko of the Vancouver Canucks (lower body)
  • Logan Thompson (leg) and Robin Lehner (hip) of the Vegas Golden Knights
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Hopefully Forsberg recovers quickly and can return to the ice sometime in the spring. However, given the expected recovery length announced by the team on Monday (February 13), he will miss the remainder of the regular season. Though he won’t face NHL competition for another six months, the hiatus could help him find his game again and prove to the senators he was worth the investment after signing his last renewal in 2022.


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