SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks cut six players from the roster on Tuesday ahead of the last practice prior to the regular season, but those players will be expected to contribute during the season, according to Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer.
“[It was a] very competitive camp. Some really tough decisions,” DeBoer said.
“I really like the fact that we’ve got a group of guys down there [with the Barracuda] that I feel very comfortable with, and we are going to need them. That’s just the reality of an NHL season.”
Barclay Goodrow, Nikolay Goldobin, Kevin Labanc, and Mirco Mueller were among the final cuts sent down to the Barracuda, and all were competing for roster spots with the big club. None of them “kicked the door in and gave us no choice,” according to DeBoer, and the Sharks concluded they would be better served playing top minutes and on special teams with the Sharks’ AHL affiliate.
“It doesn’t even come down to, ‘this guy was better than this guy,’” DeBoer said. “It’s piecing a team together and looking to the long-term development of our group.”
The Fourth Line Question
Matt Nieto, Tommy Wingels, Melker Karlsson, and Micheal Haley all rotated in during line rushes. As a center, Wingels was probably the player that most consistently took rushes, but it was a fairly even rotation.
How will the Sharks line up tomorrow? I think Wingels will play for sure, but the fourth line wingers are a different question. I would not rule out Micheal Haley drawing into the opening night lineup. A tilt against the physical Los Angeles Kings, plus his inclusion on the opening roster to begin with, give him a fighting chance [pun intended] to play in the Sharks’ practice.
“He know his job, and he can play. I think that’s the new NHL toughness is guys you have to be able to play eight, or 10, or 12 minutes [a night],” DeBoer said.
That would represent a change in Haley’s usage, based on last season. In 16 games played, Haley averaged 7:06 in ice time. He played more than eight minutes five times, 10 minutes just twice, and never played 12 minutes. DeBoer mentioned today, as he has throughout camp, that the Sharks’ record with Haley in the lineup was “very good” last season. San Jose was 8-8 in games in which Haley suited up, according to Hockey Reference.
Karlsson, Wingels, and Tierney are all tangibly better players than Haley, and if San Jose wants to ice its best lineup of the players making the team out of camp, Haley will sit in the press box. But, DeBoer praised Haley’s intangibles, and and called him a “good pro” and “a good teammate.” In the Sharks’ eyes, he’s on the roster for a reason, and he can’t be ruled out of the lineup as a result.
San Jose’s full complement of lines, defense pairings, and goaltenders looked like this:
Tomas Hertl-Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski
Mikkel Boedker-Logan Couture-Joonas Donskoi
Patrick Marleau-Chris Tierney-Joel Ward
Matt Nieto-Tommy Wingels-Melker Karlsson
Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Justin Braun
Paul Martin-Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon-David Schlemko
Quote of the Day
When I asked if this was the group Pete DeBoer would take on the Sharks’ first road trip, the head coach said the following:
Depending on health and everything. This is a league where we can’t look another game down the road. We want to get through L.A. with this roster, and then we’ll see what we have and see who goes on the road.