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Sharks Preseason Notebook: Camp roster down to 32 players

One step closer to the opening night roster.

Kevin Labanc #62 of the San Jose Sharks looks on during the third period of a game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on September 30, 2021 in Anaheim, California. Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

With just two preseason games left, the San Jose Sharks are down to the tough decisions. Ahead of yesterday’s 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks, the team announced that five players had been reassigned to the San Jose Barracuda: forwards Joachim Blichfeld, Noah Gregor and Scott Reedy, as well as defender Mark Alt and goaltender Zachary Sawchenko will all report to the AHL training camp. Forward Tristen Robins was also returned to the Saskatoon Blades for his fifth WHL season.

That brought the camp roster down to 40 players. Then this morning, forwards Jayden Halbgewachs, Joel Kellman and Nick Merkley, as well as defender Jaycob Megna were all placed on waivers, for purposes of assigning them to the Barracuda. Though waivers is required, clubs don’t often claim players during the preseason — I assume it’s one of those old fashioned hockey courtesies that general managers tend to abide by, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible that someone gets snagged.

Per Curtis Pashelka of The Mercury News, the team is also re-assigning defenders Artemi Kniazev, Brinson Pasichnuk and Montana Onyebuchi and goaltender Alexei Melnichuk.

All said, there aren’t any big surprises among the re-assignments. Noah Gregor may raise an eyebrow, but being waivers exempt makes him one of the few forwards who can easily move between the clubs. He’d have to play better than he has so far in the preseason to make it worth sending someone else down.

The camp roster is now 32 players. Doug Wilson and Bob Boughner have their work cut out for them as they look to trim down an additional nine or ten more players. Evander Kane is also still listed on the roster, though his status for the season is questionable while the league continues their investigations into him. The defense is due for a shake up, but finding playing styles that mesh well is key — especially with the team hamstrung with hefty contracts on the blue line.

The Sharks will face off against the Anaheim Ducks and Vegas Golden Knights next week in their final preseason games. The regular season starts on October 16 at SAP Center against the Winnipeg Jets.

Here’s the updated camp roster:

Forwards (20): Rudolfs Balcers, Alexander Barabanov, Nick Bonino, Sasha Chmelevski, Andrew Cogliano, Logan Couture, Jonathan Dahlen, William Eklund, Dylan Gambrell, Tomas Hertl, Evander Kane, Kevin Labanc, John Leonard, Timo Meier, Matt Nieto, Lane Pederson, Adam Raska, Jeffrey Viel, Jasper Weatherby, Ozzy Weisblatt

Defenders (10): Brent Burns, Mario Ferraro, Santeri Hatakka, Erik Karlsson, Nikolai Knyzhov, Nicolas Meloche, Ryan Merkley, Jacob Middleton, Radim Simek, Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Goaltenders (2): Adin Hill, James Reimer