This means Torres will not return until the season is about half over. Depending on his recovery, he could be out until after the break for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics—over two-thirds of the 2013-14 NHL season.
There is no doubt this will have an impact on the standings. Torres will now start it on long-term injured reserve (LTIR), most likely being joined by Martin Havlat. The Sharks will then have the room to add free agents, but few are left capable of being their seventh forward.
While there have been mixed messages about the readiness of one Czech forward, another has been quite impressive stepping in: Tomas Hertl has three goals and an assist in three preseason games. That leaves only Raffi's spot in the lineup vacant from the San Jose's opening 2013 Stanley Cup playoff roster.
The mixed messages about Havlat's readiness suggest he will start on LTIR but return before Torres. Knowing they will not even need the spot filled for half a season, the Sharks will look to players already on the payroll.
That elevates the potential for Tomas Hertl, Tommy Wingels and Anthony Stewart. Could this be the year that James Sheppard, Andrew Desjardins or Adam Burish steps up? Will either Matt Nieto or Freddie Hamilton be able to translate their AHL resumes to an NHL role?
Because of these injuries, the Sharks enter the 2013-14 season with some questions. The list of San Jose's five side effects to being down two forwards is not all negative, however.