Schlemko likely for Saturday; Heed impresses in Sharks debut

Schlemko likely for Saturday; Heed impresses in Sharks debut

SAN JOSE – The Sharks’ revolving door on defense continues to be just that.

Dylan DeMelo, who will miss approximately eight weeks with a broken right wrist, is the latest injury. Paul Martin, who missed Wednesday’s game in Calgary with a lower body injury, did not practice on Friday.

David Schlemko, though, is apparently ready to return from missing the last five games with an upper body injury.

Schlemko was hurt on a crunching hit by the Kings’ Jordan Nolan with about five minutes left in the third period on Dec. 31 at Staples Center, but has been skating for more than a week. Indications are he will play against the Blues at SAP Center on Saturday.

“As far as I’m concerned, I think I’m good to go,” said Schlemko, who has one goal and seven assists in 30 games. “Kind of nagged for a little bit, but I was only off the ice for a couple days. I’m definitely still in shape, and got my skating legs under me.”

DeBoer, who specified that Schlemko’s injury was not to his head, said: “We’ll see how he wakes up tomorrow, but if he’s healthy enough to play, he’ll play.”

As for Martin, DeBoer said: “I think he’s going to be fine, but we’ll see how he is tomorrow morning.”

Rookie Tim Heed, meanwhile, remains with the club and will likely play against St. Louis if either Schlemko or Martin is not able to go. He was paired with Schlemko for Friday’s practice, while Brenden Dillon was with Brent Burns.

In 16:29 of ice time against the Flames in his NHL debut, Heed had one shot, four attempts and two blocks while playing mostly with Dillon. His ice time was likely heavier than he anticipated, due to Mirco Mueller being kicked out of the game less than seven minutes into the first period after the Sharks’ coaching staff left him off of the lineup card.

“I was kind of surprised when [Mueller had to leave], but I just tried to focus on my game, tried to play my game, and tried to make it as good as possible,” Heed said. “I’m happy with the ice that I had, so I’ll take it.”

DeBoer said: “For a first game, it was pretty impressive. … I think Tim came in and he was moving his feet, and wasn’t second-guessing himself. He was shooting the puck. I thought he was effective and made a difference in the game, and helped us.”

The 25-year-old Sweden native also saw time on the second power play unit, although it was less than a minute, as the Sharks only had 2:42 of power play time. The offensive-minded defenseman had nine goals and 21 assists for 30 points in 27 games with the Barracuda prior to his recall.

“I like to join the rush and shoot the puck and contribute offensively, but I still want to play a solid two-way game,” Heed said. “Obviously, I see myself more of an offensive guy.”

* * *

Joonas Donskoi also missed Friday’s practice with an upper body injury, and he’s questionable for Saturday.

The Sharks’ lines for practice (listed below) included Patrick Marleau rejoining the top line in place of Timo Meier.

Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin Labanc – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Micheal Haley – Tommy Wingels – Melker Karlsson

Sharks avoid arbitration, re-sign Chris Tierney to two-year deal


Sharks avoid arbitration, re-sign Chris Tierney to two-year deal

Just two days before one was scheduled, the Sharks avoided an arbitration hearing with center Chris Tierney, and re-signed the restricted free agent to a two-year deal on Wednesday, the team announced. The deal is reportedly worth just shy of $2.94 million annually, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman

"Chris had his best season as a professional last year and stepped up his level of play in multiple areas," San Jose general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "We've always known he was a responsible, defensive-minded player, but he took his offensive game to the next tier and showed that he can be a productive player in all three zones. We look forward to watching him continue his evolution in 2018-19." 

Last season, the 24-year-old Tierney set career-highs in goals (17), assists (23), points (40), shots on goal (118), and ice time (16:00). Tierney also generated expected goals at the highest rate of his career (0.62 per hour), according to Corsica Hockey. 

A 2012 second-round pick, Tierney entered last season in an uncertain place. He signed his one-year, $735,000 qualifying offer last summer, and head coach Peter DeBoer challenged him to improve. 

“I came into the year wanting to prove a point. I believe in myself. I think I’m a good hockey player,” Tierney told the San Jose Mercury News in December. “I wanted to come in and show people that I could play an offensive role on the team.”  

DeBoer used Tierney slightly differently this season, as the forward started a career-high percentage of five-on-five shifts in the offensive zone (31.12 percent) and a career-low percentage of defensive zone starts (29.68 percent), per Corsica Hockey. Tierney responded in kind with his aforementioned career-best offensive numbers, and seized the third-line center role after versatile forward Tomas Hertl stayed on the wing.  

With Tierney back in the fold, the Sharks now have just under $4.4 million in salary cap space, according to CapFriendly. That’s for a roster carrying 14 forwards, seven defenseman, and two goaltenders, and San Jose’s actual cap space may change depending on the outcome of various positional battles in training camp. 

This summer, Tierney became the fourth Sharks player since 2008 to file for arbitration. In every case, including with Tierney on Wednesday, a settlement was reached prior to a hearing. 

The Sharks also signed a pair of prospects to entry-level contracts on Wednesday. Defenseman Ryan Merkley, San Jose’s first-round pick this June, and 21-year-old forward Alexander True, who scored 28 points in 68 games with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda last season, both inked deals with the organization.

Martin Jones' new goalie mask will have Sharks fans seeing double


Martin Jones' new goalie mask will have Sharks fans seeing double

Sharks goaltender Martin Jones won't just enter the season with a different paycheck, the result of entering the first year of a five-year, $34.5 million contract extension that he signed last July. He'll also have a new mask.

Toronto-based artist Steve Nash unveiled a look at Jones' mask design for the upcoming season Monday morning on Twitter. The design again features San Jose's secondary logo but with some subtle differences.

Eagle-eyed mask afficionados will notice a couple of tweaks. First, there now are two sharks on the side, compared to only one last season. Those sharks boast orange eyes seen on the back of his mask last season

For comparison, here's a look at Jones' mask from last year.

The 28-year-old netminder is entering his fourth season in San Jose's crease. Jones posted a .915 save percentage in 60 regular-season starts and followed that with a .928 in 10 postseason starts as the Sharks advanced to the second round. 

We'll get our best look at Jones' new mask in action when training camp opens in mid-September, and, assuming he plays, in a game as soon as the Sept. 18 preseason opener against the Ducks.