The San Jose Sharks announced this morning that they have traded goaltender Antoine Bibeau to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for defenseman Nicolas Meloche. Bibeau won’t have to go anywhere immediately, however, as he has been assigned to the Avalanche’s AHL affiliate, the Colorado Eagles, and will presumably be available for the Eagles’ preseason weekend series against the San Jose Barracuda at Solar4America Ice.
Meloche is coming off of his second season in the Avalanche organization, during which he scored 6 goals and 15 assists in 55 AHL games played. Despite being taken in the second round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, defensive prospects such as Cale Makar, Conor Timmins and Bowen Byram buried Meloche in the Avalanche’s depth chart, and it seems a change of scenery may be good for his growth. Our friends at Mile High Hockey have more on Meloche’s sudden burial in the Avs’ depth chart here.
Sharks assistant general manager Joe Will describes Meloche as a “strong right shot defenseman who helps complete our left and right balance on the blueline... his game is a blend of offense and defense and we feel that his assets will complement our young defensive prospects.”
Meanwhile for Bibeau, a dismal start in Calgary during the preseason all but meant that he wouldn’t be backing up Martin Jones to start the season, and since Josef Korenar, Andrew Shortridge and Zach Sawchenko were all with the Barracuda for their training camp, it was clear that somebody was going to have to be moved so that Shortridge wouldn’t have to be scratched every night or sent to the ECHL. In this case, Bibeau was the odd man out.
“Antoine has meant a lot to the San Jose Barracuda, highlighted by his appearance in the AHL All-Star game two seasons ago,” said Will. “This move was a difficult decision to make, but it will provide an opportunity to the other goaltenders in our strong prospect pool. I want to thank Antoine for his commitment to our organization and wish him all the best in the future.”
The Barracuda and Eagles will see each other tonight at Solar4America Ice for the first of two preseason games, and it’s likely we'll see our first look at Meloche in a Barracuda jersey.