SAN JOSE – The Sharks’ opening night roster may be set.
On Monday, the club reduced its roster to 23 players after assigning forwards Nikolay Goldobin and Melker Karlsson, and defenseman Mirco Mueller to the AHL Barracuda.
Karlsson, the Sharks 2014-15 rookie of the year, is currently out with an undisclosed injury and was not expected to be ready by opening night.
Mueller and Goldobin were the Sharks’ first round draft picks in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Mueller, who was ineligible for the AHL last season, spent the majority of the year with the Sharks registering one goal and three assists with a -8 rating in 39 games. He was permitted to play for the Swiss team in the World Juniors.
The Sharks have seven defensemen remaining, including Matt Tennyson and Dylan DeMelo, who will both make the opening night roster.
Goldobin, who turns 20 on Wednesday, has yet to make his NHL debut. In five preseason games, he had one goal and two assists, getting a look on the Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski line.
Coach Pete DeBoer spoke last week about the importance for young players to get minor league experience.
“I would say for the majority of players, it’s not only a necessary step but a helpful one,” he said. “I think you end up with a longer term better player when they go through that type of development.
“I don’t think you step into the NHL and score if you haven’t scored in the American League, so that’s a step for a forward. For a defenseman, you have to be a very good defenseman at the American League level in order to take a step and be able to jump into an NHL lineup. I don’t think there’s any cheating that process. That’s for everybody.”
Other forwards remaining on the roster that were thought to be on the bubble in include Joonas Donskoi, Barclay Goodrow, Chris Tierney and Mike Brown.
Raffi Torres also still occupies a roster spot, although he is likely to get suspended later on Monday after hitting Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg with a check to the head in a preseason game on Saturday.