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Making Sense of the Sharks Depth Moves

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Thoughts on Labanc, Sorensen, Meier and the lack of Goldobin.

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Sorensen Call-up is Likely The Real Deal

As previously reported the San Jose Sharks have called up Marcus Sorensen from their AHL affiliate the San Jose Barracuda. This news is according to both Cap Friendly and the AHL transactions page. Even though the team has yet to announce the move I think that the chances of seeing Marcus Sorensen make his NHL debut on the road trip are incredibly high.

While we have seen the Sharks make plenty of use of “paper transactions” this season this one is likely not one of them. Simply put, Marcus Sorensen’s cap hit is higher than Kevin Labanc who appears to have been sent to the Barracuda to stay for the time being. Sorensen makes $925,000 as opposed to Labanc’s $717,000.

After a slow start, Sorensen has been a solid contributor for the Barracuda with 13 goals and 14 assists for 27 points. He has a solid three zone game and has been deployed on the first power play unit. Also, while Sorensen may be a rookie to the North American game he is no stranger to the pro game. His time in Europe makes him an ideal player to jump right into the lineup with the Sharks.

Demotion Not an Indictment of Labanc

Labanc being demoted to the AHL roster for however long it may last should not sour Sharks fans on this player. So far Labanc has been considered by many (including myself) to be ahead of schedule in his development. Almost no one expected that he would not make his NHL debut, let alone stick with the team, as long as he has. While the points may have stopped coming, his play away from the puck has been great.

Something that should be considered is whether he ran out of steam. Many will point to the high number of OHL games he played with the Barrie Colts, who made some solid playoff runs, the jump to the NHL compression of the schedule and intensity of the games is a large one. Returning to the AHL could give him a chance to recharge the batteries, regain some confidence if some has been lost and get him ready for a late playoff push should he be recalled.

The Curious Case of Timo Meier

I want to preface this by saying I’m a huge Timo Meier fan going back to his days on the Halifax Mooseheads and believe that he is a significant part of this team’s future. Still, if you asked me before today who would be more likely to be sent down between Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier before today I would have answered Meier without hesitation.

Draft pedigree aside Labanc has had a complete game for the NHL level and while I’m absolutely sympathetic to the argument that the best way for Meier to develop is against NHL talent, I feel he has more to gain from a larger amount of ice time he could get in the AHL. Some nights Meier looks great but other nights he makes questionable shot selections that leaves me wondering if he is overwhelmed at times and reverting to junior hockey plays and shot selection because that is what he knows. What is actually best for Meier’s development is a topic of hot contention among Sharks fans and this is the observation of one guy.

Where in the World is Nikolay Goldobin

The obvious odd man out at this point is Nikolay Goldobin who has played maybe the best hockey he has played since turning pro. While I like play Sorensen could potentially bring to the lineup it amazes me Goldobin has not received a look this year when the Sharks struggled to score. The top six looks decent for the time being I still can’t help but wonder what a Marleau - Couture - Goldobin line would look like. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be for Goldobin to watch players get called up without even getting a sniff of the NHL.

Other Moves

Curtis Pashelka expects another defenseman will be called up to replace Heed, who was also sent down to the Barracuda to get some playing time in. My expectation is Mirco Mueller will get the call-up.

Update: General Manager Doug Wilson made the Sorensen call-up official which should end any speculation of this being a paper transaction. Joakim Ryan will replace Tim Heed as the 7th defencemen. A well deserved call-up for Ryan.