SAN JOSE – Sharks forward Matt Nieto was waived on Wednesday morning, likely bringing an end his career with San Jose.
The Sharks fully expect the former second round pick in 2011 (47th overall) to get claimed by another NHL club by Thursday’s 9 a.m. PT deadline.
General manager Doug Wilson said: “Matt deserves the opportunity to play in the league, and we’re happy to work with him and his agent to make this a possibility.”
The 24-year-old Nieto has played in just three of the last 16 games, including sitting as a healthy scratch for the last eight in a row. He has two assists in 16 games, and 70 points (28g, 42a) in 221 career NHL games, all with San Jose.
Nieto became expendable due to the emergence of other young players that have cracked the NHL roster, including rookie forwards Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier.
Pete DeBoer called Nieto, who wasn’t eligible to reassigned to the AHL Barracuda without waivers, a “good soldier.”
“Put in a lot of good work for us last year, helped us get to a [Stanley Cup Final]. I think this year, it’s not what he didn’t do, it’s a testament to the depth here,” said the coach. “We’ve had young guys that I think have progressed faster than maybe we anticipated, and have come in and basically taken jobs.”
Captain Joe Pavelski said: “He’s given this organization a lot of good years, and he’s played hard. He was a really solid teammate.”
A native of Long Beach, Nieto – the Sharks’ first-ever draft pick to hail from the state of California – signed a one-year, $735,000 contract with the Sharks in the offseason. He is a pending restricted free agent.