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Cuda Corner: Catching up with the Barracuda

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The Gang Gets NHL Contracts: Russian Teens Edition

Posted by San Jose Barracuda on Wednesday, April 18, 2018

On April 14, just after the final game of their regular season, the San Jose Barracuda clinched the final berth for the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs, with a victory over the Stockton Heat (and a loss in another game by the San Diego Gulls). With both the ‘Cuda and the Sharks in the playoffs, some roster movements were necessary.

The first transaction is more related to the looming 2018 World Championships. Swiss forward Noah Rod was reassigned to the Swiss National Team on April 16. Rod was drafted by the Sharks in the second round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, and has split his last two seasons with Geneve-Servette HC of the Swiss National League and the Barracuda of the American Hockey League. This past season, Rod recorded four points (one goal, three assists) over nine games with the Barracuda. Rod has played for Team Switzerland on multiple occasions in the past, including serving as the captain of the Junior National Team.

21-year-old undrafted right winger Evan Weinger joined the Barracuda on April 16 on an AHL contract. Weinger previously spent the season with the Portland Winterhawks and the Brandon Wheat Kings, both of the Western Hockey League (WHL). While he spent the three previous seasons with Portland, Weinger was traded to the Wheat Kings early in the season. He made one appearance with Portland and recorded 57 points (31 goals, 26 assists) over 64 appearances with the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Also on April 16, the ‘Cuda added 19-year-old center Noah Gregor on an amateur try-out agreement (ATO). Gregor was drafted by the Sharks in the fourth round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, and split this past season with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors and Victoria Royals. He put up 36 points (14 goals, 22 assists) over 30 appearances with the Warriors, and 29 points (15 goals, 14 assists) over 30 appearances with the Royals.

Danish winger Joachim Blichfield also joined the ‘Cuda on April 16. The 19-year-old forward was drafted by the Sharks in the seventh round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, and has spent the last two seasons with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. Over this past season with Portland, Blichfield scored 56 points (24 goals, 32 assists) over 56 games.

Also signing a contract this week was Barracuda captain and left winger John McCarthy, who has led the team since 2012 when the franchise was located in Worcester, Massachusetts playing as the Worcester Sharks. The 31-year-old extended his AHL contract with the Barracuda into the 2018-2019 season. He was drafted by the Sharks in the seventh round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and has played in 88 NHL games, all with the Sharks. McCarthy split this season between the ‘Cuda and the American Olympic Hockey Team. He played five games at the Olympics, where he recorded a minor penalty. Over the remainder of the AHL regular season, he recorded 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) over 56 games.

On April 20, the Barracuda added undrafted defenseman Thomas Gregoire. The 19-year-old has spent the last three seasons with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s (QMJHL) Sherbrooke Phoenix. Over this past season as an alternate captain, Gregoire recorded 69 nice points (12 goals, 57 assists) over 67 games.

Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson also announced today that the Sharks organization has agreed to terms with left winger Ivan Chekhovich for a standard entry-level contract (ELC) due to start in the 2018-2019 season. Chekhovich joined the San Jose Barracuda on an ATO earlier this month alongside fellow 2017 draft pick Sasha Chmelevski for the successful playoff push. Chmelevski signed his ELC for 2018-2019 upon joining the ‘Cuda.

Chekhovich recently finished his second season in the QMJHL with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, during which he tallied 60 points (29 goals, 31 assists). Since joining the Barracuda earlier this month, he has recorded nine points (three goals, six assists) over six regular season games.

When Chekhovich and Chmelevski joined the Barracuda on April 3, the team was 10 points out from the Calder Cup Playoffs. With only minor changes since, they were able to push the ‘Cuda into the final Pacific Division playoff spot on the final day of the regular season. The Barracuda are currently in the midst of their first-round playoff matchup against the Tucson Roadrunners, and the Roadrunners lead the series 1-0. The Barracuda and the Roadrunners will reconvene at the SAP Center on April 21 at 7 PM PST for their second game of the first round first-to-three series.