Deep Blue Sea: Sharks youth have everyone looking forward

Plus Torts gets brutally honest, The Rock makes Maple Leafs fans embarrass themselves and more in today’s news & notes.

If there’s a common accepted narrative about the 2022-23 San Jose Sharks, it’s that this season is likely to be a wash — it’s not a season focused on unrealistic drastic improvement because there are simply too many factors at play. The steps this season’s Sharks take don’t have to be massive, they just need to keep moving the team forward.

But on the other side of that coin is another common thread: the Sharks have some sneaky good prospects waiting in the wings.

For example, despite San Jose coming in at 28 in Sportnet’s power rankings this week, the youth are noted as the one case for optimism about this season:

You wonder how many of the players who will ultimately lead the next rise of the Sharks aren’t even on the team yet. One who could very much be there for the long haul, though, is 24-year-old defenceman Mario Ferraro.

Some of those players who aren’t on the roster — or weren’t until an emergency call-up yesterday afternoon — include William Eklund and Thomas Bordeleau, who were assigned to the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda to start the season. Both forwards were also listed on Daily Faceoff’s list of the top-75 players who could be in the Calder conversation this spring as the league’s best rookie.

Eklund comes in at 19, with hope that the crafty winger gets his break this year. And indeed, with a possible injury to Timo Meier, and Alexander Barabanov still questionable, it might come in this weekend’s back-to-back series.

Bordeleau is more of a long shot, ranked at 42. Being a natural center limits opportunity in the line-up for the former Wolverines forward, but perhaps he’ll see some time at wing to see how he handles another development year.

The new-look front office hasn’t been afraid to send players through waivers, aided by the inexpensive contracts several of the free agent depth players were signed to. If Eklund or Bordeleau are able to prove that the Sharks are undoubtedly better with them than without them, I feel comfortable that the coaching staff would make room for at least one forward in the line-up.

But like I said before, there aren’t many people expecting the Sharks to be in win-now mode this season, and if that’s the case, perhaps it’s better for their confidence to let the pair tear up the AHL for now. A second-tier league is going to be more forgiving of rookie mistakes while still adjusting to the professional hockey life, schedule and demands, not to mention all the advantages of the ‘Cuda sharing the city with their NHL affiliate.

I guess we’ll find out soon if Eklund’s on deck for his season debut.

News & Notes

  • Top 75 NHL Affiliated Skater Prospects [Daily Faceoff]
  • NHL Power Rankings: One optimistic shining ray of light for every team [Sportsnet]
  • BREAKING: Eklund Recalled, Meier & Ferraro Miss Practice [San Jose Hockey Now]
  • Burns energized with Hurricanes, set for emotional night at Sharks []
  • After trading Brent Burns, Sharks like the big, buzzsaw winger they got in return [The Mercury News]/

Blood in the Water

  • John Tortorella on if Flyers are good at anything: No [Broad Street Hockey]
  • Sean Monahan’s debut was as near perfect as you could ask for [Eyes On The Prize]
  • Matt Dumba starting season motivated and pissed off [Hockey Wilderness]
  • NHL fans are already fed up with the new digital board ads [Yahoo! Sports]
  • Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson leads Maple Leafs fans in wrong chant at home opener [Sportsnet]
  • Oilers’ Darnell Nurse fined by NHL Player Safety for check on Canucks’ Burroughs [Sportsnet]
  • Kevin Bieksa signing one-day contract with Canucks to officially retire [Sportsnet]
  • Women’s national hockey team supports Hockey Canada changes, wants seat at the table [Sportsnet]
  • Eight Surprise Rookies Who Made NHL Opening Night Rosters [The Hockey News]
  • Three Things We’ve Learned From Opening Nights Around The NHL [The Hockey News]
  • What You Should Know About Hockey Canada’s Interim Report [The Hockey News]
  • Black Girl Hockey Club Awards 10 Scholarships to Black Women [The Hockey News]/

Recaps & Scores

  • Arizona Coyotes 2, Pittsburgh Penguins 6
  • New Jersey Devils 2, Philadelphia Flyers 5
  • Ottawa Senators 1, Buffalo Sabres 4
  • Florida Panthers 3, New York Islanders 1
  • Washington Capitals 2, Toronto Maple Leafs 3
  • New York Rangers 7, Minnesota Wild 3
  • Dallas Stars 4, Nashville Predators 1
  • Colorado Avalanche 3, Calgary Flames 5
  • Chicago Blackhawks 0, Vegas Golden Knights 1
  • Seattle Kraken 4, Los Angeles Kings 1/

Click on a team name to find a recap on their SB Nation site!

On the Schedule

  • Tampa Bay Lightning at Columbus Blue Jackets, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET on NHLN, BSOH, BSSUN
  • Montreal Canadiens at Detroit Red Wings, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET on BSDET, TSN2, RDS, ESPN+
  • New York Rangers at Winnipeg Jets, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on TSN3, MSGSN, ESPN+
  • Carolina Hurricanes at San Jose Sharks, 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET on NBCSCA, BSSO, ESPN+/