Matt Tennyson’s role in San Jose was largely confined to that as a seventh defenseman. After signing with the Sharks as an undrafted free agent out of Western Michigan in 2012, Tennyson played in 60 NHL games before leaving the organization as a free agent this past summer.
He demonstrated glimpses of being ready for a regular role with the club in 2014-15, scoring eight points in 27 games. The Sharks appeared to bank on that transition, as the final year of Tennyson’s two-year contract entering last season was a one-way contract, ensuring he would be paid an NHL salary even if he was sent down.
He was a fairly regular part of the Sharks’ lineup to start the season, but was essentially replaced by DeMelo by mid-December. Tennyson got a six-game look with the Sharks in February, never playing more than ten minutes in any of those games. He left what would be his final game in teal with a concussion, on the same day the Sharks acquired Roman Polak.
Tennyson was called up for the postseason, but did not play, and signed a two-way deal with the Carolina Hurricanes as a free agent this summer. His role in Carolina has been similar to that in San Jose, and he was just recently recalled from the AHL after the Hurricanes waived defenseman Jakub Nakladal.
Tonight, in just his second game with the Hurricanes, Tennyson will have a chance to continue to prove to his new team and his old one that he is worthy of a regular NHL role. He told the Raleigh News and Observer that his preparation has not changed, but you’d have to think he’ll relish the chance to establish himself against the team that decided he was surplus to requirements.
Statistically, Tennyson was never offered much to write home about. He demonstrated good offensive instincts, as seen in his playmaking numbers, but was not a strong possession player. 60 games isn’t a huge sample, but at 26, it’s likely that Tennyson is not much more than a depth defenseman at this point in his career. He’s got a chance to prove otherwise now in Carolina.
From the Archives
Tennyson, who spent his teenage years in Pleasanton, scored an assist in his NHL debut and made history in the process. As Jon Wold noted in the preview ahead of the game:
As mentioned before, if Tennyson does make it in the game, he will be the first product of the Jr. Sharks organization to lace up the skates for the San Jose Sharks.
Not bad for an undrafted free agent.