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Paul Martin assigned to San Jose Barracuda

For the first time in his career, Paul Martin will be an AHL defender.

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at San Jose Sharks Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Martin has been sent to the San Jose Barracuda for conditioning. Martin made his return from IR against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday, skating on the top pairing with Brent Burns, but did not dress in last night’s shut out victory over Ottawa. Tim Heed has been activated off IR and took the ice instead.

The 36-year-old defender will be playing in the AHL for the first time in his career, as he made the leap from NCAA with the Minnesota Gophers straight to the NHL. Martin has been rehabbing an ankle injury that required off-season surgery for most of the year so far. This stint with the Barracuda will be to get him back to being ready for those top-pairing minutes, if that’s where Pete DeBoer wants him to be when he returns.

The Barracuda will welcome the help, as they’ve been without their top pairing of Joakim Ryan and Tim Heed since Martin went on IR in October. Because this transaction is for conditioning, Martin will not have to pass through waivers, but is limited to two weeks with the ‘Cuda. Conditioning stints are also subject to player’s approval or request, meaning Martin has agreed delay his full return to the Sharks.