Update: Turns out Vlasic is fine. Go ahead and read between the lines on the following tweet.
Vlasic was coy about what kept him out of third period of Saturday's game. Good to go for tomorrow, tho. #SJSharks— Curtis Pashelka (@CurtisPashelka) November 28, 2016
Original post follows:
Marc-Edouard Vlasic left Saturday’s game early with a yet to be disclosed injury. Pete DeBoer declined to comment further following the game and the San Jose camp was expectedly quiet on Sunday. We’ll likely hear something today, though there’s no guarantee it’ll be anything of substance.
The Sharks are in trouble if Vlasic is out long term, obviously, but Dylan DeMelo is one player who would benefit from such an absence. DeMelo played in just his second game of the season on Saturday and he drew into the lineup due to the unexpected illnesses of David Schlemko and then Brenden Dillon. Because he’s waiver eligible, DeMelo has spent most of his time in the San Jose press box.
That’s not a situation DeMelo can possibly be happy with. Frankly, it’s not an ideal situation for the Sharks, either. The top six has played too well to make changes realistic and DeMelo’s trade value isn’t quite high enough to where San Jose feels it would get a good return. He’s in the tweener zone: Too good to expose to waivers, but not good enough to trade. Not yet, anyway.
If San Jose can look at the bright side in a potential Vlasic injury, it’s that the team has the depth to withstand it. Behind DeMelo are Tim Heed and Mirco Mueller; the latter has NHL experience and the former has played pro hockey in Europe, Additionally, giving DeMelo an extended look can serve as a long audition for what the defender can do.
That might stoke the trade fires a bit, though it’s still so early in the season it’s hard to imagine the Sharks will get much of anything for him. For now, San Jose may be happier knowing it has a depth advantage few other teams enjoy; but as a fan of hockey it really hurts to see DeMelo stuck in the press box night after night.
The defender could request a trade, but I doubt that would be met with more than a chuckle from Doug Wilson. The team may be interested in trading him, but DeMelo has no leverage. What’s he going to do, sit out? And frankly, given the way the NHL operates, it might only hurt his trade stock if he’s not seen as a team-first guy.
So if Vlasic is hurt, even if only for a couple weeks, it’s DeMelo’s time to seize the opportunity. Whether that turns into him getting more games with the Sharks (I doubt it) or getting traded (more likely) or waived (possible), this is DeMelo’s chance to show where he belongs. For his sake, let’s hope it’s not the AHL.