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Sharks announce 2021 opening night roster, taxi squad

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San Jose is carrying a six-man taxi squad.

The San Jose Sharks celebrate after coring against the Colorado Avalanche at SAP Center on March 8, 2020 in San Jose, California. Photo by Brandon Magnus/NHLI via Getty Images

Tomorrow marks the official start of the 2021 San Jose Sharks season, but this isn’t exactly “new year, new Sharks.” Head coach Bob Boughner and company are hopeful that several key players can bounce-back, and just a few tweaks to the roster will suffice.

Matt Nieto is returning to the Bay Area after a stint with the Avalanche. Patrick Marleau is also back from 12 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Ryan Donato was added to helping with scoring and Devan Dubnyk was brought in to say that they tried something to help the goaltending.

The major departure, though, is Joe Thornton. If changes in the locker room played any role in last season, as some speculated about the beginning of the Post Pavelski Era, then Joe Thornton’s absence leaves a crater in the locker room that is truly impossible to fill.

The final transactions as the Sharks’ roster began to take shape: Forward Maxim Letunov will begin the season on injured reserve and per the NHL, he is unavailable due to COVID protocols. Artemi Kniazev was returned to his juniors club. Forwards Sasha Chmelevski and Jeffrey Viel have been reassigned to the San Jose Barracuda.

Rudolphs Balcers, acquired off waivers from the Ottawa Senators, will round out the forward group with 13, however, he is listed a NHL non-roster currently. In addition to visa issues, there’s also a closed border and quarantine procedures to consider before Balcers is able to join the Sharks.

All teams this season are required to carry a taxi squad of four to six players and carry three goaltenders between their roster and taxi squad.

These are your 2021 San Jose Sharks:

2021 San Jose Sharks Roster

Forwards (12)

Dylan Gambrell, Evander Kane, Stefan Noesen, Patrick Marleau, Ryan Donato, Marcus Sorensen, Timo Meier, Logan Couture, Joel Kellman, Tomas Hertl, Kevin Labanc, Matt Nieto

Defense (7)

Jacob Middleton, Mario Ferraro, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Radim Simek, Erik Karlsson, Nikolai Knyzhov, Brent Burns

Goaltenders (2)

Martin Jones, Devan Dubnyk

Taxi Squad (6)

Fredrik Handemark (F), John Leonard (F), Noah Gregor (F), Brinson Pasichnuk (D), Nicolas Meloche (D), Alexei Melnichuk (G)